Skico endorses measure to curb greenhouse gas |

Skico endorses measure to curb greenhouse gas

Aspen Times Staff Report

The Aspen Skiing Co. endorsed the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act yesterday as the measure starts debate in the U.S. Senate.

The act would reduce heat-trapping emissions of greenhouse gases from sources in the United States.

The Skico supports reducing greenhouse gases because of their potentially adverse effects on the skiing industry, said Pat O’Donnell, Skico president and CEO.

“Scientific models suggest that as warming continues, we will experience increased extreme weather events, warmer nights, wetter shoulder seasons and reduced weather predictability,” he said

Auden Schendler, Skico director of environmental affairs, said the company had to take a broader position, in addition to trying to reduce its own emissions.

“Given the solid scientific information we have on climate change, it makes sense for the ski industry to support reasonable, bipartisan, economically feasible action to address this problem before it begins to affect Aspen/Snowmass,” Schendler said in a prepared statement.

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The Climate Stewardship Act will encourage major industrial emitters to invest in, and even profit from, the most cost-effective means to reduce emissions, according to Schendler’s interpretation of the bill. Over the long term, investments in efficiency will actually reduce future energy costs.

While resorts may see a small increase in their electricity rates, these costs will be manageable with periodic efficiency upgrades such as replacing outdated compressors in snowmaking equipment, according to Schendler. These measures will reduce the electricity and fuel bills ski resorts pay in the long run.

In 2001, the Skico announced a 10-year plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent. The company has implemented a host of climate protection programs, including wind power purchases, comprehensive lighting retrofits, on-slope microhydroelectric power generation, green building design, and political support for state and federal renewable energy standards.