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May 30, 2013

Threatened by Climate Change, Ski Industry Joins Call for Effective Policies
    by Robert Kropp

More than 100 US ski resorts sign the Climate Declaration of Ceres, calling for a coordinated effort to combat climate change threatening the winter sports industry. -- A study authored by University of New Hampshire researchers Elizabeth Burakowski and Matthew Magnusson and published last December warns that if winter temperatures continue to warm significantly, the winter tourism industry could well disappear completely in many areas of the US.

Legislators continue to drag their feet in addressing what is the greatest crisis confronting humanity today. But increasingly, many companies are joining the call for effective policies to address the threat. Many of the have joined Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of businesses directed by Ceres that is calling for meaningful legislation to enable a transition to a low-carbon economy.

In April, Ceres and BICEP launched the Climate Declaration, whose signatories advocate for a coordinated effort to combat climate change. The nation's health and prosperity "are threatened by a changing climate that most scientists agree is being caused by air pollution," the Declaration states. "We cannot risk our kids' futures on the false hope that the vast majority of scientists are wrong."

Aspen Skiing Company and the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) are members of BICEP, and Ceres announced yesterday that more than 100 of the nation's ski resorts have signed the Climate Declaration. Ski resorts in the US employ 160,000 people and generate revenues of more than $12 billion. But according to the UNH study, the number of days with snow cover in the Northeast could decrease by as much as 75% if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise, and the mean snow depth at Rocky Mountain resorts could drop to zero.

"The success of ski business operations depends greatly on climate, which is why we are so invested in programs that keep our slopes sustainable," Brent Giles of Park City Mountain Resort in Utah said. "But our actions alone won’t be enough without strong policies. We welcome legislative and regulatory initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions, incentivize renewable energy development and help improve our resiliency in the future."

"We welcome the ski industry as allies in our work on climate and energy issues and as signatories of the Climate Declaration. This is an industry that cannot be off-shored, and they are calling for climate action here at home,' said Anne Kelly, director of BICEP. "Policymakers must realize that the old political paradigm of 'It's the environment or the economy; pick one' is a false choice. American businesses are ready to combat climate change, and policymakers should join them in leading the way."

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