But aren't the few thousand Antartic visitors, there but a few days of fun per trip and they go back to work and home, then part of the billions of people at home heating the earth? I have done no particualr research, but I would suppose that the wealthy few contribute more than their share to heating the earth.
Well, let's see.
Let's fly from London Heathrow airport to Argentina Ushuaia and back again. For one person, that's 4.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalents.
And according to timeforchange.org
, the average yearly emissions for a UK citizen is double that.
A Canadian would add "only" 3.2 tonnes with a direct flight from Toronto.
In addition comes the not insubstantial amounts of CO2 equivalent emissions per person from a boat trip. If we assume that the efficiency of the Antarctic explorer ships are as good as that of passenger transport by ship in the EU, that's about 15 grams per tonne kilometer
. Quark's Professor Multanovskiy is 1,753 tonnes
, for 50 passengers. So per passenger kilometer, that's 526 grams. According to the itinerary of the workshop
, the Multanovskiy traveled from Ushuaia to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. A simple four-edged polygon travel route makes this about 4000 km. So that's another 2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per passenger. Add cars, buses, zodiacs etc.
It is estimated that in order not to increase the acceleration of climate change, the average total annual CO2 equivalent emissions per capita
must not exceed about 2 tonnes.
So a conservative estimate is that by going to Antartica on this kind of trip, per passenger, the CO2 equivalent emissions are increased by about three times what the average for sustainable living on this planet.
To offset 20,000 tourists who do this every year, an equivalent of nearly a hundred thousand Canadians would have to cut their CO2 emissions by close to 10%.
Whether the increased climate change awareness from trips to the Antarctic will achieve this is anyone's guess. I'm not saying that it doesn't.