Letter: We need to act now to ensure the future of winter sports
While there have been many concerns surrounding the Sochi Olympics, including a lack of snow, the Winter Olympics’ biggest problems may be finding a host site for future Winter Games. According to researchers from Canada and Austria, only six of the past 19 host cities currently would be able to host the games due to unreliable weather and snowfall from climate change. As a skier in Colorado, I see this as another reason to cut carbon pollution from power plants, the single largest source of global-warming pollution.
Climate change, now center stage in Sochi, certainly has been affecting winter sports in the U.S., as well. The Sochi organizers had to bank snowfall from last winter to ensure they would have enough for the games, and higher temperatures have caused problems in maintaining the outdoor courses, including the halfpipe. Closer to home, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the downhill ski-resort industry lost more than $1 billion in potential revenue due to low snowfall between 1999 and 2010. For residents of Colorado, we see this impact hit our winter tourism economy and the number of powder days in the ski season.
The Olympics are a source of international pride and unity, but with fewer cities able to maintain the minimum required snowpack, we may watch this beloved tradition melt away. In order to ensure the future of winter sports, we need to act now. One critical step is for the Environmental Protection Agency to finalize carbon-pollution standards for power plants — the single largest source of global-warming pollution.
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