An inventory of the energy use and carbon dioxide emissions from island tourism based on a life cycle assessment approach

Nae Wen Kuo, Chia Yun Lin, Pei Hun Chen, Yung Wei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Tourism is an economic activity that results in a wide range of environmental impacts. The contribution of tourism to human-induced climate change is an increasingly important issue. However, the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from tourism products have never been thoroughly discussed. This study uses life cycle assessment (LCA) to explore energy use and CO 2 emissions of island tourism and then compare the environmental loads of different tourism subsectors. This study uses three Taiwanese islands (Penghu, Kinmen, and Green islands) as examples to examine the LCA approach, and it calculates and compares the energy usage and CO 2 emissions of the transportation, accommodation, and recreation activity sectors. Results show that each tourist consumes 502, 447, and 118 MJ of energy per day on Penghu, Kinmen, and Green islands, respectively. Each tourist also generates 34.0, 27.9, and 7.1 kg of CO 2 emissions on Penghu, Kinmen, and Green islands, respectively. Each Penghu tourist per day consumes 4.25 times as much energy as each Green tourist, and each Penghu tourist generates 4.7 times the CO 2 emissions as each Green tourist. In summary, the transportation sector generates the largest energy (49-67%) and the largest proportion of CO 2 emissions (58-72.4%); the airplane sector is the primary contributor. Finally, this study discuses the advantages and limitations of the LCA approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-465
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Progress and Sustainable Energy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1



  • CO emissions
  • energy use
  • island tourism
  • life cycle assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)

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