Climate change is affecting the mountains and mountain sports.
Climate change is threatening winter. Our lovely mountains are dependent on cold weather, but in 2016 global temperatures from Jan to May were the hottest ever recorded1. Mountains are especially sensitive to climate change and are beginning to deteriorate before our eyes. Glaciers are receding, snowfall has reduced, permafrost is melting, and extreme events like landslides are more frequent.2,3,7
We are seeing less snow and ice on the mountains during UK winters. Many climbing routes in the Alps and the Greater Ranges have changed beyond recognition, or are un-climbable in their original form. Ski areas with previously reliable snow cover are dramatically changing, or reliant on snow cannons. Winter tourism is the main source of income for many mountainous communities, and is therefore underpinned by good snow cover4.
Why protect the mountains?
Glaciers have decreased by half over the past couple of decades, and so has their capacity to mitigate climate change.5 Glaciers act like huge mirrors, efficiently reflecting the suns energy back into space, but without these climate-regulating ice plains the earth's temperature will increase at an even faster rate.5
Over 125 million people are part of the mountain sports community. A simple action by a fraction of us can make a real difference to clean energy generation, the installation of new capacity, and government policy.
The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is a clear signal that grass-roots action is required. A change to clean energy is a quick, simple, and positive way to act - and help preserve the mountain environment for future generations to enjoy.
What can we do?
We believe in positive action to reduce the threat of climate change and we want you to join us! In less than 5 minutes you can switch your energy supplier to one which provides 100% clean energy. If more clean energy is drawn from the Grid, the providers have to provide more cleanly generated inputs. There are no catches and it will normally be cheaper!!!
1. NOAA., (2016) National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for May 2016. Available at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201605 [Accessed 6th February 2017]
2. Bürki, R., Elsasser, H. and Abegg, B., (2003) Climate change-impacts on the tourism industry in mountain areas. In 1st International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, pp. 9-11.
3. Rixen, C., Teich, M., Lardelli, C., Gallati, D., Pohl, M., Pütz, M. and Bebi, P., (2011) Winter tourism and climate change in the Alps: an assessment of resource consumption, snow reliability, and future snowmaking potential. Mountain Research and Development, 31, (3), pp.229-236.
4. Pons-Pons, M., Johnson, P.A., Rosas-Casals, M., Sureda, B. and Jover, È., (2012) Modeling climate change effects on winter ski tourism in Andorra. Climate research, 54, (3), pp.197-207.
5. CIPRA, (2017) Climate change: why the Alps are particularly affected. Available from: http://www.cipra.org/en/cipra/international/projects/completed/cc-alps/about/climate-change-alps [Accessed 8th February 2017].
6. Vanat, L., (2014) International report on snow & mountain tourism. Retrieved February 5, pp. 2015.
7. Scott, D, Steiger, R, Rutty, M, and Johnson, P., (2015) The future of the Olympic Winter Games in an era of climate change, Current Issues In Tourism, 18, (10), pp. 913.
8. Gobiet, A., Kotlarski, S., Beniston, M., Heinrich, G., Rajczak, J. and Stoffel, M., (2014) 21st century climate change in the European Alps—a review. Science of the Total Environment, 493, pp.1138-1151.