If you’re in Europe, you’re seeing one of, if not the worst winters on record – warm spring-like temperatures on New Year’s Day and snowless slopes still at most resorts, devastating local economies and a winter outdoor industry that had high hopes for an epic European winter.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S. over 20 inches of rain and 200+ inches of snow have fallen this month in California, resorts on the east coast were forced to close due to a lack of snow, and destructive tornados have touched down in January. And last week, NOAA ranked 2022 as the fifth warmest on record and the eight warmest years on record have now occurred since 2014.
These events are not one-offs, they’re exactly what scientists have been saying would happen for decades. The climate is now being turbo-charged by a warming planet resulting in more frequent, more powerful, and uncharacteristic storms, resulting in billions of dollars of damages and a winter sports industry with a very uncertain future.
We’re seeing a preview of what a warming planet could look like, and its impacts on our businesses. This should be a wake-up call for every one of us to make climate action an integral part of how we do business going forward.
Sure, we could just choose to ski at higher elevations, or depend on more sophisticated snowmaking, but we can’t run forever. The science says that to avoid the worst impacts, we have less than a decade to reduce our carbon emissions 100% economy-wide by focusing on the systemic solutions that will have the greatest impact on global carbon emissions – using our industry’s considerable influence to advocate for new clean energy policies, for example.
Let this winter be the catalyst for urgent action for every one of us. If you haven’t joined the ClimateUnited Pact yet, please do so today and together, we’ll unite and guide the winter outdoor industry toward meaningful and systemic climate action.