Framework conventions for climate change

An analysis of global framework conventions with reference to resource governance and environmental management approaches in New Zealand

Authored by: Debbie Hopkins , James Higham

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and the Environment

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415582070
eBook ISBN: 9780203121108
Adobe ISBN: 9781136325564


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The global climate change discourse has identified a wide range of physical, social, economic and political issues (Solomon 2007; Giddens 2009; Stern and Treasury 2007; Adger et al. 2009a). Policy responses have emerged at a range of scales, from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the global level, through to national and local government initiatives. These environmental policies have implicated many sectors including energy, agriculture and forestry, yet to date direct address to tourism has been limited. Holden (2009) states that this will change as tourism becomes increasingly constrained by environmental policy in due course. Tourism is an energy-intensive and natural resource-dependent industry (Becken and Hay 2007; Becken 2008a; Gössling et al. 2005) that both contributes to and is harmed by the effects of global climate change. This ‘resource paradox’ gives urgency to discussions surrounding the tourism–environment relationship (Williams and Ponsford 2009). Yet there is complexity in defining the boundaries of tourism, which in turn creates difficulty in allocating responsibility or calculating ‘greenhouse gas intensity’ (GHG emissions/economic value) (Perch-Nielsen et al. 2010). In this chapter we engage three ‘metadiscourses’: green governmentality, ecological modernisation and civic environmentalism to discuss and critically assess the field of tourism, environmental governance and climate change. In doing so, we also critique global governance frameworks specifically as they relate to national and regional/local scales of analysis, employing the New Zealand national context and the case of the regional winter/snow tourism industry in New Zealand.

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