Tourism Heats Up as Arctic Does

Travelers flock to see dwindling ice caps, speeding up their destruction
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2007 8:22 AM CDT
Arctic Trucks - Top Gear Magnetic North Pole Expedition   ((c) Podknox)
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(Newser) – The effects of global warming are drawing a crowd. About 1.5 million people will visit the arctic this year, as climate tourists swarm to see the world’s ice caps as they are beginning to melt. But it’s an ironic endeavor, the Wall Street Journal notes, because eco-tourists are contributing to the destruction of the very places they visit.

Thanks to climate change, more arctic regions than ever are accessible by cruise ship, but those ships bring carbon emissions and increase chances of oil spills. Tourist traffic to places like Norway's Svalbard archipelago, where visitors hope to catch sight of new islands, can also destroy fragile vegetation and endanger wildlife. “What's the point of your trip to the Maldives if the end result is that it will be drowned?” asks one emissions-fighting activist.