Global Carbon budget & its impact on (hotel) business

          There is a carbon budget for our planet. You certainly know the meaning of the word budget, yes?

          Carbon might be a different story, though. But fear not. Simply explained, every time you burn something which is or was alive you create carbon in various forms. One of which is CO2,  Carbon dioxide, thats the stuff we got currently at a level of +/- 400 ppm in the atmosphere.

          “Not another provocative, patronizing and panic inducing treehugger again, you exasperate about now!” Relax, my dear reader and read on. This writer tries to provide a different viewpoint only.

          You might or might not have heard that the IPCCC issued, at the end of September 2013, its latest and 5th Report on Global Climate Change. This revision took about 6 years, many academics, 360+ auditors and 55’000 comments before it could be released. One of the main changes from the 4th Report is that the IPCCC now is 95% sure, as opposed to only 90% before, that humans are the cause of global warming.

          But lets get back to that Carbon Budget, which is, according to Allen et al. of Oxford (2009) 1 trillion cumulative tons of carbon or 3.67 trillion tons of Co2 (Carbon dioxide). Mind you, should we want to keep global warming at around 2 degrees Celsius. 53% of that budget is already pumped into the atmosphere right about until now.
          Current consensus among Academics is that within the next 3 decades (30 years, or by 2043) we have emitted the other 47%. How? Well, growing food or bio-gasoline, eating meat, cutting down trees to grow more food or bio gasoline, oh and yes, by burning coal to create electricity which we then use to play IQ raising games on one of our 4 mobile devices.

          Btw – do you realize that the average smartphone has more computing power than the rocket who put us on the moon?

          How does this “Carbon Budget” impact the hotel business? Six fold.

          1) It will change hotel operations once hotel managers start to find out where the highest carbon creation takes part. (Hint: Waste is very high up on that list)

          2) It will change how architects plan hotels once hotel management companies will not take on the contracts to manage a hotels which puff Co2 like Trabbants (East German Car, anno 1980)

          3) It will change once insurance companies raise yearly premiums on carbon polluters.

          4) It will change once employees realize that a management team which cares about the hotel’s carbon footprint probably can provide more non monetary fringe benefits which have more of a value than a normal remuneration of cold hard cash.

          5) It will change when hotel purchasers/accountants have to add the carbon footprint of their supply chain to the monetary cost of things put in hotel rooms for a short period of time before they got dumped onto a landfill.

          6) It will once hotel chefs realize that 30% of their lovingly prepared food is thrown out on a daily basis. Yes, food is pure carbon.

          When will this happen? At the rate that we are currently going not early enough, but realistically and cynically speaking not earlier than August 2042.

          Sources:
          http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/09/30/what-the-carbon-budget-means-for-business/
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19407800

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          Daniel Koeppel

          Daniel is an environmental sustainability specialist with a hospitality background. He is passionate in supporting visionary hotel companies wishing to increase their environmental sustainability know how and solutions. Contact us now for a non-committing assessment!

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