Group Urges Action to Curb the Threat of Climate Change
Pacific Palisades, CA (October 2, 2013) — Seeing climate change alter the winter they love and depend on for their livelihoods, a high profile delegation of top winter sports athletes and outdoor leaders traveled to Washington this week to show support for President Obama’s climate action plan. Despite the government shutdown, a large group of lawmakers made it a priority to meet with the group and discuss this pressing issue.
The delegation was led by Protect Our Winters, which engages the winter sports community in the fight against climate change. The delegation included a mix of business leaders and Olympians, including mountaineer and The North Face leader, Conrad Anker; Donna Carpenter, President of Burton Snowboards; and Gretchen Bleiler, Olympic Silver medalist and professional snowboarder.
This the first time that such a diverse and influential group from snow sports has spent time in Washington to call for action against climate change. “We’re truly honored that these individuals made it a priority to travel to Washington. Having caliber of athletes, brands and resorts working together, calling for meaningful action against climate change is going to make a difference,” said POW’s Executive Director Chris Steinkamp.
“Without a doubt, winter is in trouble. As professional athletes and business leaders representing a community of 23 million winter sports enthusiasts, we’re witnessing climate change first-hand with warmer winters and inconsistent snows,” said Chris Davenport, board member of Protect Our Winters. “This jeopardizes the economies of tourist-dependent states where winter tourism generates $12.2 billion in revenue annually, supports 212,000 jobs and $7 billion in salaries. Those are the jobs and businesses owned by our friends and families, generators of billions in federal and state income.”
The group met with key senators from states known for winter sports and held a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol with Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, who is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees issues such as climate change. They also had scheduled meetings with Obama administration officials that were canceled by the government shutdown.
The high profile delegation traveled to the nation’s capital to urge that the president’s climate plan be put into action and share their firsthand experiences of seeing climate change in action in the mountains in which they work, visit and travel to around the world. The initial part of the climate plan was announced September 20th by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposing federal limits for carbon pollution from new electric power plants. Carbon pollution is a key contributor to changes in our climate.
“The good news we’re telling members of Congress and the administration is that we can have a positive impact. It starts with cutting down on the carbon pollution from dirty power plants that is accelerating climate change” said Steinkamp.
Their trip to Washington follows release of a report last year by Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council revealing the impacts of climate change on the winter tourism economy in the United States. The estimated $12.2 billion dollar U.S. winter tourism industry, as analyzed in this report, has already felt the direct impact of decreased winter snowpack and rising average winter temperatures.