Park City Mountain Resort and Vail Mountain are among the 108 US ski areas that have joined Ceres and its BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) coalition in signing the Climate Declaration, which calls upon federal policymakers to address climate change as an economic opportunity.
These ski areas join 40 other businesses, including General Motors, Nike and Levi Strauss & Co., as well as founding signatory Aspen Snowmass, in asking lawmakers to draft legislation and regulatory initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and incentivize renewable energy development.
Ski areas in the US employ about 160,000 people and generate approximately $12.2 billion in annual revenue. The National Ski Areas Association calculates that visitors to US ski areas spent $5.8 billion at those resorts over the course of the 2011/2012 season. Preliminary figures from the 2012/2013 season show an 11 percent increase in visits year-over-year, to an estimated 56.6 million visits this season.
The winter tourism industry in the US experienced an estimated $1 billion loss and up to 27,000 fewer jobs from 1999 to 2010 because of diminished snowfall patterns, according to a December study prepared for the Natural Resources Defense Council and nonprofit group Protect Our Winters.
The report warns that warming temperatures — projected to increase 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if climate change goes unchecked — mean snow depths in the west could decline by 25 to 100 percent, according to the study. This would halve the northeast’s winter snow season.
The Climate Declaration, launched in April, comes on the heels of President Obama’s renewed commitment to combat climate change and a study from Ceres, Calvert Investments and WWF indicating that a strong majority of Fortune 100 companies have set renewable energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals.