Climate footprint of activities

HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

At www.travelandclimate.org, we estimate the climate footprint of travel and accommodation for holiday trips, but the activities you do at the destination can also have an impact on the climate. Below is a table with information about the climate footprint of some holiday activities.

The figures show that there are holiday activities that have a high climate footprint, including RIB-tours, cruises and helicopter skiing; while amusement parks, music festivals and regular downhill skiing have a much lower climate footprint.

The calculations of the climate footprint from the activities themselves have been made by us primarily (using basic data from those who run these businesses). We have also used data from other studies of good quality.

The calculations follow the same principles as the other parts of the holiday calculator, such as how the emissions from electricity production are calculated (see Methodology Report, page 4). The figures for activities mainly include the emissions generated from the electricity and fuels used for the operations. Emissions from the visitors' travel and accommodation is not included here since it is calculated separately in other parts of the holiday calculator. Other domains that are not included are food consumption and production/construction of the facilities (e.g. ski lifts and rides/attractions). For comments regarding how our calculations relate to the  GHG protocol, read more at the bottom of this page. 

Below are descriptions of how specific activities have been calculated.

ACTIVITY

KG CO2/DAY

COMMENT

Amusement park

1

Data frpm Liseberg, Gröna Lund, Kolmården

Music festival

3-10

ca 5 kg for Way out west n Gothenburg

RIB-tour 

30-70

3 hour tour with stop, 30 - 60 nautic miles

Cruise

60-500

Lower figure refers to cruise Stockholm - Finland

Downhill skiing

Nordic copuntries

The Apls

Heli-skiing

 

2-3

4-8

100-300

 

Data from Skistars resorts in Sverige and Norway

Higer emissions from production of electricity

5 runs and 1 hour flying time

AMUSEMENT PARKS AND ZOOS
Visiting amusement parks and zoos is a relatively common holiday activity. In cooperation with Liseberg and Gröna Lund amusement parks, and Kolmården Zoo, we have calculated the climate footprint from this type of activity. The result is a climate footprint of approximately 1 kg CO2 per person per day, i.e., from a visit to each amusement park which has a focus on rides and attractions, or a day at the zoo. This corresponds to the climate footprint of driving a diesel car for less than 10 kms.

Included in the calculation is the use of electricity and fuel, where electricity use accounts for the biggest part of the climate footprint. The calculation does not include food consumption, nor does it cover the climate footprint of the production and construction of the rides and attractions.

The data for Liseberg amusement park has been obtained from Sonja Jonasson and for Gröna Lund amusement park and Kolmården Zoo from Isabella Lian.

MUSIC FESTIVALS

In 2019, the people behind the Svalna climate calculator conducted an analysis of the climate footprint from the music festival Way Out West in Gothenburg. The calculation was commissioned by Luger, the festival organiser. The results showed a climate footprint of approximately 5 kg CO2 per dayticket. The calculation included emissions from the transport of artists and materials, energy use in the festival area, rental of equipment, and accommodation for the artists. Visitors’ trips to the festival, their accommodation and food and drink were not included in the calculation.

In calculating the climate footprint of one day at the Way Out West festival, electricity from the Nordic countries’ grid was used, which is relatively low-carbon. Since there are several major uncertainty factors, we state a range of 3-10 kg of CO2 per day for visits to music festivals.

RIB TOURS IN THE ARCHIPELAGO

A trip in a large, fast, rigid inflatable boat (RIB) is a potential summer activity. Generally, this kind of tour lasts for a total of three hours and includes landing on an island in the archipelago. Our calculation of the climate footprint from this kind of tour is based on a typical type of RIB, where the boat’s engine consumes on average 3.3 litres of fuel per nautical mile (source,one nautical mile being 1.852 kms) and where we assume that this is distributed among 9 paying passengers (there is space for 12 people on this type of RIB). The emissions per litre are 3 kg CO2 (Swedish Energy Agency) which gives a figure of 1.1 kg CO2 per person per nautical mile.

One tour offered is Gothenburg – Vinga which is a distance of about 30 nautical miles; another tour, Stockholm – Sandhamn, is just over twice as far. is just over twice as far. These trips result in CO2 emissions of 30–70 kg CO2 per person.

CRUISES
The lower number in the range in the table above is based on data from Viking Line. Their cruise route Stockholm – Turku (Finland) is about 340 nautical miles (630 km) return. With emissions of just over 200 grams per passenger kilometre (average for the whole of Viking Line; see the Methodology Report page 10), emissions from a cruise to Finland are just over 130 kg CO2. Since the trip takes about 24 hours and takes place over two days, the figure is divided by two giving 65 kg CO2 per day. One difference from other holiday activities  is that the figure includes accommodation. A guest night at a hotel in the Nordic countries is assumed to generate emissions of about 7 kg CO2, so even if you do not take this into account, cruises have a very big climate footprint.
Other estimates of the climate footprint from cruises end up with significantly higher figures. A Norwegian study found an average of 250 kg CO2 per cruise day; however, the range was very large, with individual cruise ships that had emissions of more than 1000 kg CO2 per day (Vestforsk, pages 23-24)Another large cruise ship company reported 120 kg of CO2 per day (Carnival, page 114). 

Due to the high level of uncertainty, we state that emissions are within a range as large as 60-500 kg CO2 per cruise day. In many cases, cruises also involve a flight to and from the cruise departure point itself, for example in the Caribbean or Hurtigruten in Norway.

DOWNHILL SKIING IN NORDIC COUNTRIES
In addition to the trip to the ski resort, the downhill skiing itself has a climate footprint. In cooperation with the company Skistar, we have calculated the climate footprint of this. Skistar operates ski resorts with lift systems in Åre, Vemdalen, Sälen, Trysil and Hemsedal. The results of this calculation show a climate footprint of 2–3 kg CO2 (average 2.3 kg) per average ski day at any of these five resorts in Sweden andNorway (the basic data was obtained from Fanny Sjödin at Skistar).

This corresponds to the climate footprint of driving a diesel vehicle for just under 20 kms. Analyses for the Swedish ski resorts show that about half of the climate footprint comes from the electricity used for the production of artificial snow, a quarter from electricity for the operation of the ski lifts, and the final quarter from fuel used primarily for ski slope grooming machines. Our analysis does not cover the climate footprint of the production and construction of the lift system.

DOWNHILL SKIING IN THE ALPS
Skiing in the Alps does,  in most cases, result in significantly higher emissions than skiing in the Nordic countries. The main difference is that the journey there is longer and that it is often by air. However, the skiing itself also causes more emissions, because the electricity consumed in the Alps is partly from fossil sources. If the lift system described above had been located in the Alps, its climate footprint would have been more than twice as high at about 6 kg CO2 per ski day.
An uncertainty factor is the scope of the artificial snow production. We do not have any data on electricity consumption/emissions from artificial snow production in the Alps, but a rough indicator could be the percentage of the surface of the ski slopes and resort area that can be covered by artificial snow. You can find information here about the average percentage for different countries. Skistar has an artificial snow coverage of 60%. Since there are several big uncertainty factors, we state a figure of 4–8 kg of CO2 per ski day for the Alps.
HELI-SKIING
Helicopters enable skiing outside lift systems. Our simplified calculation for a day of helicopter skiing results in 100–300 kg CO2 per person. Our calculation is based on a one hour flight time for the helicopter, which is what is stated for a day with 5 relatively short downhill runs at Sweden’s Riksgränsen
The CO2 emissions of the helicopter model AS350B3 are approximately 180 litres of aviation fuel per hour (source - download pdf), which emit approximately 700 kg of CO2 (each litre accounts for 3.15 kg of CO2 emissions, and in addition, we added 24% to cover emissions from the extraction, refinement and transportation of the fuel). If this is distributed among 4 paying guests, the result is roughly 175 kg CO2 per person per day of travel.

To include the high level of uncertainty regarding helicopter model, flight time and number of paying guests, we have stated a range of 100–300 kg CO2 (Sources: Carl Lundberg and Rindlisbacher & Chabbey - download pdf).

THE CALCULATIONS IN RELATION TO GHG PROTOCOL
Our calculations can be described in relation to the system boundaries defined in the  Greenhouse Gas Protocoll (GHG Protocol). Our calculations cover Scope 1 (direct emissions from energy use) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from energy use) but not Scope 3 (e.g. visitors travel and food consumption). However, one important difference is that we use average data for e.g. emissions from electricity, while GHG Protocol uses specific data for each actor. This can partly be understood as a result of the differences in purpose. The purpose with the holiday calculator is to inform consumers, while the GHG Protocol often is used as a tool for the actors to analyze and improve their own operations. Our calculations are intended to be representative for a specific type of holiday activity, e.g. any amusement park, and not a specific actor.

The climate footprint analyses described above are conducted by Jörgen Larsson, Chalmers and Andreas Ekvall and Anneli kamb, KTH. Comments and check of data is done by Birgit Brunklaus, LCA-researcher at RISE (2022-05-16).