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Scott Pruitt’s other toxic legacy: voter cynicism

On the eve of two key hearings, the scandals swirling around the EPA chief continue to erode public trust in government.

     

Zinke’s latest change to the Endangered Species Act is more trouble than you think

Removing the “blanket” rule would create more work for an overburdened federal agency and make it harder to protect threatened species.

     

This lobbyist could become EPA chief soon – and he may be worse than Pruitt

Andrew Wheeler, who spent his career representing polluters, could be next in line if Pruitt is pushed out.

     

Clean energy boom played key role in recent US carbon emissions drop, study shows

Wind, solar and other clean energy development held their own against natural gas, accounting for nearly one-third of the emissions reduction 2007-2013.

     

In case you missed it: Lead levels once deemed “safe” may cause cardiovascular death in adults

It’s a wakeup call for policymakers: America’s continuing lead problem must be addressed.

     

How environmental innovation will transform business as usual

Google, Walmart and other leading companies are investing in innovations that empower people to take action.

     

How a groundswell of citizen activism helped save the EPA

Congress listened and this will mean less pollution, healthier kids and, just maybe, a reality check for Washington politics.

     

Welcome to the Fourth Wave: A new era of environmental progress

It will empower people and fundamentally transform how we solve environmental problems.

     

Winter Sports Under Threat in a Changing Climate

Winter Sports Under Threat from Climate Change

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Adapted from a report by Protect Our Winters

In mountain towns across the United States that rely on winter tourism, snow is currency. For snow lovers and the winter sports industry, predictions of a future with warmer winters, reduced snowfall, and shorter snow seasons is inspiring them to innovate, increase their own efforts to address emissions, and speak publicly on the urgent need for action.

A new report, The Economic Contributions of Winter Sports in a Changing Climate examines the economic contribution of winter snow sports tourism to US national and state-level economies. In a 2012 analysis, Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the winter sports tourism industry generates $12.2 billion and 23 million Americans participate in winter sports annually. That study found that changes in the winter season driven by climate change were costing the downhill ski resort industry approximately $1.07 billion in aggregated revenue over high and low snow years over the last decade.

This analysis updates the 2012 study and furthers our understanding of how warming temperatures have impacted the industry since 2001, what the economic value of the industry is today (2015-2016) and what changes we can expect in the future under high and low emissions scenarios.

Taking another look at the changing winter sports tourism sector in America, we find:

  • The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of US mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the US to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.

  • In the winter season of 2015–2016, more than 20 million people participated in downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, with a total of 52.8 million skiing and snowboarding days, and 11.6 million snowmobiling days.

  • These snowboarders, skiers and snowmobilers added an estimated $20.3 billion in economic value to the US economy, through spending at ski resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and gas stations.

  • We identify a strong positive relationship between skier visits and snow cover and/ or snow water equivalent. During high snow years, our analysis shows increased participation levels in snow sports result in more jobs and added economic value. In low snow years, participation drops, resulting in lost jobs and reduced revenue. The effects of low snow years impact the economy more dramatically than those of high snow years.

  • While skier visits averaged 55.4 million nationally between 2001 and 2016, skier visits during the five highest snow years were 3.8 million higher than the 2001-2016 average and skier visits were 5.5 million lower than average during the five lowest snow years.

  • Low snow years have negative impacts on the economy. We found that the increased skier participation levels in high snow years meant an extra $692.9 million in value added and 11,800 extra jobs compared to the 2001–2016 average. In low snow years, reduced participation decreased value added by over $1 billion and cost 17,400 jobs compared to an average season.

  • Climate change could impact consumer surplus associated with winter recreation, reducing ski visits and per day value perceived by skiers.

  • Ski resorts are improving their sustainability practices and their own emissions while also finding innovative ways to address low-snowfall and adapt their business models.

The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of US mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the US to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.

A global game changer for energy efficiency investments

A new underwriting and risk assessment standard could help scale up this $1 trillion global market.