Mountain Journal has often covered the various sustainability initiatives by ski resorts and the snow/ outdoor industries.

It has also noted the fact there here in Australia, the resorts and industry have either given up all pretense of even caring about climate change or simply have never done anything on the issue. In theory most resorts at least support the ideas behind the ‘Keep Winter Cool‘ initiative, but when was the last time you saw any of them promote climate change or sustainability measures in their materials?

It will be interesting to see if the sale of Perisher Resort in NSW to Vail Resorts will have any impact on the local industry. Vail has at least signed on to some initiatives like “Target 10” aiming for a 10% reduction in energy use.

As we get closer to the climate negotiations which will happen in Paris in late November, the stakes keep getting higher. With the current global agreement (the Kyoto Protocol) due to expire shortly, it is essential that world leaders agree on the framework for the agreement which will replace it.

We will need all hands of deck if we are to force governments to adopt a solid agreement, with strong targets for reducing greenhouse emissions, and adequate financing to support developing countries transition to clean energy futures.

In this sense, this initiative, co-ordinated by Protect Our Winters, is heartening, as they have mobilised an impressive number of industry bodies, individual resorts and companies, and key snow athletes on the issue of climate change.

The introduction to the letter is below. You can read the full letter here.

UNITE FOR POW IN PARIS

From November 30 – December 11, world leaders will meet in Paris at the UN Climate Change Conference/COP21 to decide the future of a warming planet and how, as a global community, we’re going to address climate change. To us, this is the tipping point: will we continue business as usual and ignore this threat, or will we work together to reduce global carbon emissions and preserve this planet for future generations? This week will give us all a glimpse into the future.

Those of us who love and depend on snow for our sports and our livelihoods have a lot at stake, a $62 billion industry, supporting over 950,000 winter tourism-related jobs in the US alone. The threat is real and we need to take action to stem the effects of climate change including drought, warmer, drier winters and a shorter season. This is the greatest opportunity of our time. We need meaningful action from all, and the time to act is now.

It’s time, more than ever, to unite as a community and voice our support for strong action in Paris and a healthy, clean energy future. All of us in snow sports know what it’s like to rise to a challenge. This is it. Get involved with us and change the future.

THE INDUSTRY AND ATHLETES HAVE SPOKEN

Over 92 global brands, 53 resorts, 50 professional athletes, 13 snow sports trade groups and associations have signed a letter to President Obama, to send him to Paris with our collective support. We’ll deliver this letter to The White House in October.

The letter does not call for specific targets, rather it urges President Obama to ‘get on with the job’ of securing a strong agreement in Paris:

“This is our time, an opportunity to admit our faults, put politics aside and make good on the global community’s overwhelming desire for a cleaner planet. We’re in your hands, and all we can do now is let you know that you have our support to get the deal done. The stakes have never been higher and it’s time to rise to the challenge to inspire innovation and clean energy, and take advantage of this historic moment for us, and our children.”

You can add your name to the letter here.

If you were a member of any ski related organisation (or work in a resort or the snow industry) why not encourage them to sign on?