For the athletes who make a living skiing, snowboarding, and pursuing other adventurous sports on the snow and ice, the gnarly changes underway in the climate are especially bad news.
Scores of athletes, including Olympic medalists, said as much in a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, trying to bring attention to the alarming disappearance of white winters.
The letter was drafted by the group Protect Our Winters and signed by 75 Olympic medalists and other winter sports athletes, including White House “Champion of Change” awardee and pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones. An excerpt:
As professional athletes, representing a community of 23 million winter sports enthusiasts, we’re witnessing climate change first-hand. Last year was the warmest year on record, and once again, we’re currently experiencing another winter season of inconsistent snow and questionable extremes. Without a doubt, winter is in trouble.
And with this lack of consistent snow, at risk are 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 good news is that because we know this warming is human-caused, we can do something about it and it can be done, now, from limiting carbon pollution from our nation’s dirty power plants to rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
First, it is time to tackle pollution from the biggest emitters in the United States: power plants. We’re asking for you to issue standards under the Clean Air Act that cut carbon pollution from America’s aging power plant fleet — at least 25 percent by 2020, while boosting energy efficiency and shifting to clean energy sources. Power plants are our largest source of carbon pollution. Cleaning them up will create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs, meet the pollution targets set for the country, and restore U.S. international leadership.
Furthermore, we urge you to reject dirty fuels like tar sands. Specifically, reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which is not in our national interest because it would unlock vast amounts of additional carbon that we can’t afford to burn, extend our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels, endanger health and safety, and put critical water resources at risk.
C’mon Obama dude, this shit is real!