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A carbon offset service that can make your Antarctic holiday carbon neutral.
With Penguin Offset, you can calulate your share of the CO2 greenhouse emissions from the
planes & ships in your Antarctic holiday and then offset these emissions so that your
trip to Antarctic is carbon neutral.

Carbon emissions from Antarctic tourism

Antarctic tourism is powered by fossil fuels, and when fossil fuels are burnt, they produce CO2 greenhouse gas, also known as carbon emissions.

In the Antarctic Tourism industry, most carbon emissions are produced from:

- jet fuel (kerosene) used in the planes that fly to and from Ushuaia
- diesel fuel used in Antarctic cruise ships

All fossil fuels are hydrocarbons. This means that they are molecules comprised of hydrogen and carbon. The molecular structure of these fuels looks like this:

The diagram shows a hydrocarbon molecule with the hydrogen atoms around the chain of carbon atoms. The little dots in between is the 'hyrdogen bond' from where the energy is released when the molecule is burnt in the presence of oxygen.

When hydrocarbon is burnt - in a jet engine or a cruise ship engine - it breaks into carbon and hydrogen. These two atoms immediately bond with oxygen from the air, producing carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20).

CO2 is a 'greenhouse' gas. This which means that it absorbs heat. The more greenhouse gas there is in the atmosphere, the hotter our planet gets.

For every tonne of hydrocarbon that is burnt, about three tonnes of CO2 gas are produced.

How does one tonne of fossil fuel produce three tonnes of CO2?

This is due to the different weights of the atoms. Carbon (12) and oxygen (16) are heavy atoms, whereas hydrogen (1) is very light.

Using the Penguin's Antarctic Tourism Carbon Calculator, it is possible to assess the per-person carbon emissions associated with a visit to Antarctica.

The diagram below shows a hypothetical tourist trip to Antarctica, highlighting the two carbon-producing components: the air travel and the cruise ship.

In this example, Larry flys from London to Ushuaia (via Frankfurt and Buenos Aires). Then he spends two weeks cruising the Antarctic on a ship before flying home.

This Antarctic holiday produces 9.4 tonnes CO2 for one person.

The significance of these carbon emissions is that they contribute to the 36 billion tonnes of global emissions world-wide, and they double the annual carbon footprint of the tourist.

 

 

Why does this matter?

CO2 is the main gas responsible for the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is natural and it is good for Earth. But when there is too much CO2 in the atmosphere, it is very bad.

Royal Society video on greenhouse effect.

Making it Better

Some sources of greenhouse emissions can be easily replaced with low carbon alternatives. For example, mains power electricity can be provided by solar and wind. However, for other greenhouse emissions sources there are no commercially alternatives.

For Antarctic tourism, there are no practical alternatives to kerosene for air travel. Antarctic cruise ships could potentially be run on biodiesel (diesel fuel made from vegetable oil), but there is no indication that this is occuring.

For those greenhouse emissions sources where there are no alternatives, carbon offsetting is a simple and effective way to counterbalance the global warming impact of these activities.

Penguin Offset is a carbon offset service, focussed on the unique needs of tourism in the Antarctic, focussing on both the cruise ships and airlines. Click here to assess your Antarctic cruise carbon footprint.

Penguin Home  -\- The Chilling Irony of Antarctic Tourism -\- Newsletter Subscribe -\- Contact the Penguin
Climate Change & Antarctica -\- CO2 and Antarctic Tourism -\- Our Carbon Calculator
About Carbon Offset -\- Our Carbon Offset Projects

Tourism in Antarctica - Antarctic Tourism - Climate Change in Antarctica
Other initiatives by sustainability entrepreneur Guy Lane: SEA O2  - Eearth Culture - Guy Lane Fiction Writer - Long Future - Penguin Offset