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How do You Deal with Climate Change Skeptics?

April 29th, 2009 by skigreenguy | 4 Comments | Filed in Policy & Social Change

climate-changing-fast_6439If you talk about climate change, you will inevitably run into climate change skeptics. These are folks that deny warming exists (a dying breed), cite competing theories, or see climate change as a hoax driven by big government and/or a conspiracy of grant-hungry liberal scientists.

Ignoring skeptics is a lost opportunity. Not only do skeptics vote but they make choices everyday that impact the climate. Our collective action—in politics and lifestyle—over the next few decades will have a major influence on the magnitude and rate of future warming.

A greater engagement in this issue is clearly needed. According to a 2006 Pew Global Attitudes Survey, nearly half of Americans (47%) and somewhat fewer Chinese (37%) express little or no concern about the problem. As the top producers of greenhouse gases we need to educate ourselves and others in how to be responsible for our sport—and all the carbon that goes up into the atmosphere so we can slide down hills.

So how do you deal with a climate change skeptic? (more…)

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EPA Endangerment Finding Will Impact Ski Areas

April 17th, 2009 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry
snowcat-2

For the "welfare of current and future generations," stop the brutal grooming

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of an endangerment finding today states that “greenhouse gases in the atmosphere endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” This EPA action was the result of a Supreme Court decision two years ago that ordered the agency to investigate the effects of carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. However, this EPA finding will not result in major regulation in the immediate future. Congress will likely enact their own green house gas (GHG) regulations that better reflects industry desires and politics of the day. Nevertheless, the EPA move does provide strong impetus to the ski industry—as well as other industries responsible for GHG emissions—to implement meaningful GHG emissions measures and controls.

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Looking for Credible Climate Change Information? Peer-Reviewed Resources

April 16th, 2009 by skigreenguy | 1 Comment | Filed in Policy & Social Change

Understanding and Responding to Climate Change Looking to learn more about climate change now that most of the lift-served terrain is closed for the season? A great place to start is this very readable report on climate change, “Understanding and Responding to Climate Change” by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. If you have a scientific background and want to read peer-reviewed work that is published in the scientific literature, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides in-depth reports that reflect a range of views, expertise and wide geographical coverage. IPCC materials aim to be neutral with respect to policy. In addition, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a State of Climate Change Knowledge web page and the US Global Change Research Program created by Congress in 1990 has an on-line climate change library.

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First Ski Resort to Report Verified GHG Emissions: Grand Targhee Resort

April 13th, 2009 by skigreenguy | 3 Comments | Filed in Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry Technology, Ski Resorts, United States
Grand Targhee: Verifiably Good

Grand Targhee: Verifiably Good

In an effort to accurately and comprehensively manage its emissions, Grand Targhee Resort elected to voluntarily report its emissions inventory with The Climate Registry, a voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program.  According to a March 26 press release, Grand Targhee is very concerned about climate change and is “interested in opportunities to engage hundreds of thousands of winter sports enthusiasts each year through education and example.” Known for a reliable snow pack (500 inch annual snowfall), Grand Targhee certainly has a lot to protect.

The Climate Registry is a nonprofit collaboration among North American states, provinces, territories and Native Sovereign Nations that sets consistent and transparent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions into a single registry. Christina Thomure, Director of Sustainable Operations at Grand Targhee Resort reported that The Climate Registry’s protocol for measuring greenhouse gases “ensures a level of accuracy and transparency that far exceeds all other tools we evaluated.” Notably, the Registry requires annual third party verification and is widely viewed as the premier GHG registry in North America.

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Ski Resort Tries Large-Scale Renewable Energy

March 29th, 2009 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry, Ski Resorts, United States
Jimmy Peak's "Zephyr" fulfills half of Jimmy Peak's electrical demand

Wind energy fulfills half of Jimmy Peak's electrical demand

The Associated Press reports a model of large-scale renewable energy production at Massachusetts’ Jimmy Peak Ski Resort. The installation of Jimmy’s 386-foot, $3.9 million turbine named “Zephyr” cut the resorts electricity costs by $200,000 last year — the first full year the turbine was operational. In contrast to simply buying renewable energy credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions, the turbine represents a green technology that can provide needed electrical power—and an immediate payoff. (more…)

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Climate Change Study: What Does the Future Hold for the Northwest?

February 20th, 2009 by skigreenguy | 1 Comment | Filed in How to Ski Green, Policy & Social Change, United States
Will Mount Baker always have the deepest snow on earth?

Will Mount Baker always have the deepest snow on earth?

What does climate change mean for the Northwestern portion of the United States? An in-depth report from the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington provides some grim answers to that question. Among the “highest confidence” predictions for this region include: warmer temperature throughout the year, decreased summer water supply, and increased probability of drought. Skier translation: more rain and less snow in the winter. But perhaps the most surprising finding is the speed of change. The authors point out significant impacts in just the next ten years: (more…)

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Sustainablity Networking Model: Minnesota Supports Greener Ski Areas and More

December 12th, 2008 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in Policy & Social Change, Ski Resorts, United States

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency sponsors the Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network to encourage networking, information exchange, and better access to assistance. This network consists of an even mix of over 3,000 individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, local governments, educational institutions, and other organizations in Minnesota (and bordering areas) who are interested in moving toward sustainability. The site is Minnesota specific, but the network model and information posted there is certainly relevant to all with an interest in sustainability.

The Sustainable Ski Slopes page provides a nice summary of sustainability efforts within the ski industry, including the National Ski Areas Association’s Sustainable Slopes program, the Keep Winter Cool campaign, the Ski Area Citizens Coalition, as well as specific case studies and recommendations for ski area personnel.

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Global Attitudes Survey: People Rate Climate More Important Than Ecomony But Less Willing To Pay

December 5th, 2008 by skigreenguy | 1 Comment | Filed in How to Ski Green, Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry

Results of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries were released last week that suggest that there is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change. (more…)

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Western Governors’ Association Calls for Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

December 3rd, 2008 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in Ecotravel, Policy & Social Change, United States

The bi-partisan Western Governors’ Association (WGA) has given President-elect Barack Obama a four-page letter detailing its recommendations for the new administration’s energy policy, including an “aggressive and achievable national greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.” The Assocated Press reported that the Western Governors’ Association proposed a mandatory national system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through “market-based mechanisms.”

Why does the WGA support clean energy technology when the 19 member states are responsible for 94 percent of the country’s onshore oil reserves and 66 percent of its coal reserves? (more…)

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Carbon Offsets: Gimmick or Cutting Edge?

November 26th, 2008 by skigreenguy | 5 Comments | Filed in Ecotravel, How to Ski Green, Policy & Social Change

Carbon offsetting as part of a “carbon neutral” lifestyle has gained some appeal and momentum mainly among consumers in western countries who are concerned about the potentially negative environmental effects of energy-intensive lifestyles. Carbon offsets enable individuals and businesses to reduce the CO2 emissions they are responsible for by offsetting, reducing or displacing the CO2 in another place, usually where it is more economical to do so.

Carbon offsets typically include renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. Carbon offsets are popular with ski areas seeking to make up for some of the carbon emitted by their electrical usage, grooming and visitor vehicles. Ski resorts are big energy—and energy offset—users. But are these offset programs real or just marketing gimmicks? (more…)

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