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Pete Altman’s Blog

Falling Snow Cover Gets More News Coverage

Pete Altman

Posted February 27, 2013 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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A few days ago, the New York Times ran a lengthy story about the low snowfall in western states this winter, and what impacts that may have on wildfires and drought this coming summer.

Tonight, PBS' http://www.pbs.org/newshour/ will examine the effects of climate change on the ski industry. Tune in and check it out. 

NRDC has examined the effects of rising temperatures on the ski industry before. recently, in our December 2012 report Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States, which examined how historical changes in the winter season have already impacted the ski tourism industry. The study, produced in collaboration with Protect Our Winters focuses on the most recent decade's skiing statistics and a review of historical winter climate observations. It also considers what is at risk from the impact of future winter climate projections. 

Low seasonal snowfall hits our economy hard. The low snowfall during the 2011/2012 ski season is estimated  to reduce national winter tourism employment by 6% to 13% (13,000 to 27,000 jobs) compared to a higher snowfall seasons and cost the US economy between $800 million and $1.9 billion in reduced economic activity.

In the many U.S. states that rely on winter tourism, climate change is expected to contribute to warmer winters, reduced snowfall, and shorter snow seasons.  This spells significant economic uncertainty for a winter sports industry deeply dependent upon predictable, heavy snowfall.

Add to that how lower snow cover makes it more likely that wildfires and drought will be worse come summer time, and there's a pretty strong case for taking action to prevent the problem from getting worse. 

That's why NRDC has been supporting President Obama's commitment to take action on climate change, and why we are pleased to see growing public support for starting with power plants, which are the nation's single biggest source of global warming pollution. As NRDC has pointed out - and others have begun to echo - the President could use existing authority under the Clean Air Act to cut 25% of our nation's global warming pollution at very low cost, while simultaneously increasing our investment in clean energy sources.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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