As many of you in the snow sports community are aware, Protect Our Winters (POW), with support from SIA and National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), has drafted a letter to President Obama regarding the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The letter has been signed by over 200 industry representatives and is set to be hand-delivered to the White House in October by POW Executive Director Chris Steinkamp, as well as many POW athletes and supporters, and our president David Ingemie and NSAA’s public policy director, Geraldine Link.
The letter expresses the entire industry’s support for President Obama as he goes to Paris to face difficult negotiations with extremely high stakes for fighting climate change. We checked in with Steinkamp to see how Protect Our Winters is feeling about the sign-on turnout for the letter.
“We’ve got well over 200 signatures on the letter and that was our goal,” Steinkamp said. “We wanted to have the lion’s share of the market represented and to show our strength with the support of the entire industry. We’re very thankful to everyone who signed on. The snow sports industry is a well-respected voice in this fight, and this letter will definitely be heard by the President before the negotiations begin.”
The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris is the 21st annual session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) begun by the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal of the Convention is for all countries represented to come to a legally binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions in order to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
“This is the last opportunity the global community has to get this done,” Steinkamp said. “The UN Climate Change meetings have being going on for years and nothing binding has come out of them. We’ve kicked this can down the road several times, but now the window of opportunity is closing. Paris represents the greatest opportunity we’ve ever had to get a handle on climate change.”
The letter states to the President, “As you prepare for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, please know that the snow sports industry and professional athletes applaud your strong leadership on addressing climate change….Thank you for your efforts in Paris to secure our future through reduced carbon emissions, strong incentives for clean and renewable power and continued support of research on climate solutions. We know the stakes are high and that the negotiations are difficult, but in this eleventh hour, know that the full force of winter is behind you.”
If you haven’t signed on yet, please do here: http://protectourwinters.org/climateletter.
“This is the big tipping point we’ve been waiting for since the Copenhagen climate change meeting in 2009,” Steinkamp concluded. “Nothing came out of that meeting, but this time the world must come together with a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions. Global average temperatures have already risen quickly, and we’ve got to limit that warming to at most 2ºC. This is our last chance, and we need the President to know that we, the entire snow sports community, stand behind him in this historic moment.”
Luckily, there are examples of how some of the steps forward in past conferences have been effective. This bodes well for legally binding agreements that will hopefully be made in Paris. Check out this article posted on Protect Our Winter’s Facebook page showing how countries that adopted the 1997 Kyoto Protocol have consistently met or exceeded their reduction targets stated at that conference. “It’s possible and we have the data to prove it,” the Protect Our Winter post states.
Stay tuned to our new blog space, Snow Source, for news about Protect Our Winter’s hand-delivery of the sign-on letter to the White House in October. We’ll keep you posted on who will be there and how it will go down.
Meanwhile, get more information about the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris at the conference website: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en. For more information about Protect our Winters, follow them on Facebook and Twitter and go to their website at protectourwinters.org.