Carbon Pricing in Vermont

To protect Vermont skiing from the worst impacts of climate change, the state must continue its legacy of climate leadership and implement carbon pricing for all carbon emissions.

 

As skiers and snowboarders, we know that Vermont’s natural beauty is one of the state’s greatest assets, and that snowsports are a vital part of the Vermont way-of-life.

 

And yet,  Vermont is already feeling the impacts of climate change:

  • The average annual temperature in our state has risen 1.3°F since 1960.

  • Our annual freezing period has shorted by 4 days every decade.

  • By the end of the century, ski resorts like Stratton, Killington and Sugarbush could be facing ‘Tennessee-like’ winters

 

With President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, state and regional climate action are more important than ever!

Vermont is already a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the highly successful cap and trade program for carbon emissions from power plants, that has slashed global warming pollution from power plants in half within its nine member-states.

 

If Vermont extends carbon pricing to include emissions from heating and transportation, it could cut carbon pollution by an additional one-third!

 

From Vermont? We need your help!

Sign our letter telling Governor Scott to support carbon pricing in Vermont to protect a healthy environment and snowy winters in Vermont for many generations to come.

Still In.

Last week, President Trump took distressing action and abandoned the US's Paris climate promise. Like environmentalists around the world, we were devastated by this news.  In a single day Trump undid everything we worked for in the 'Ascent to Paris' in 2015 and silenced the 193,000+ individuals worldwide, including ski areas, Olympians, elected officials, businesses, and organizations that joined us in calling for strong action in Paris. But we’re not giving up.

Snowriders, like millions of Americans, still believes in the commitment the US made in Paris a year and a half ago.  

We know that carbon emissions must be reduced and reduced quickly.  Snowriders has long held that in order to confront climate change and protect the future of snow sports, transitioning to a 100% renewable energy economy is essential. The good news is that across the country, cities, businesses, educational insitutions and individuals are refusing the take climate change lightly and stepping up to commit to aggressive carbon reductions on their own, even if the federal government won’t.  In fact, cities from Portland to Pittsburg are going beyond the commitments of the Paris agreement to pledge to reach 100% renewable energy in the next 20 or 30 years! The goal is more important and more attainable than ever. Solar and wind energy are both growing rapidly nationwide, and renewable energy now employs more people than oil and coal!  Major cities like San Diego, San Antonio, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis are leading the country in expanding their solar capacity and installations.

Join thousands of others in raising your voice for 100% renewable energy!  

Raise your voice!


Voices for 100% Renewable Energy

Javier Gonzales.jpg

Javier Gonzales, Mayor, Sante Fe, New Mexico

“As the head of a city that is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2040, I’m seeing firsthand the challenges a big promise like that brings with it – but I’m also seeing the opportunities it creates, and they are far, far to the benefit of our people, our economy, and our future…” Read More…

 

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Steve Skadron, Mayor, Aspen, Colorado

“The City of Aspen set a goal to reach 100% renewable by 2015, and we are proud that we achieved this goal. It’s through a lot of hard work, strong leadership, a commitment to a long-term goal, and having a vision that allowed us to get here. In addition to providing clean electricity to our town, we are also able to offer some of the lowest rates for electricity in the state of Colorado.”

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Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions

“In 1955 the Paley Commission called for an immediate transition to renewable energy, as a matter of urgent national security. Had we listened, we would, today, be 100% renewably powered, have stopped climate chaos short, and be living in a world of secure, abundant, affordable energy. We still have the option of achieving such energy...” Read More...


Find more Voices for 100% Renewable Energy here.

Tell us why you support a renewable future!

Snowriders for 100% Renewables

Snow and mountain communities know better than most what’s at stake in the face of climate change.  We can see snow and our way of life threatened by irregular weather and freezing patterns, warming winters, and earlier and earlier springs each year.


We don’t want to watch our winters melt away! That’s why Snowriders International is dedicated to fighting for a 100% renewable energy economy.


A 100% renewable energy economy is essential to cutting global warming pollution and ensuring snowy winters for generations to come.


We must take urgent and decisive action to reduce emissions to the levels that science tells us are necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.  Snowriders believes transitioning to 100% renewables is a necessary step in curtailing our carbon emissions and protecting our planet. The 100% renewables goal is both possible and vitally important to protecting the future of snowsports in North America.


Renewable energy is good for mountains and mountain communities.


Renewable energy is also clean energy. Wind and solar power keeps our mountain air clear of pollution and alpine views free of smog.


We need to act now before it’s too late!


The good news is that the goal of 100% renewable energy is closer than ever. Solar and wind energy are both growing rapidly nationwide, and renewable energy now employs more people than oil and coal!


Snowriders International has fought towards this goal for years in our work on the Clean Power Plan, the Paris Climate Agreements and more. Today, we thinks it’s more important ever to reaffirm our goals and redoubling our climate efforts. If we are going to confront change and protect the future of snow sports, transitioning to a 100% renewable energy economy is essential.

Protect Our National Monuments

Bears Ear National Monument -By US Bureau of Land Management (http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bears Ear National Monument -By US Bureau of Land Management (http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In April, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, to review 27 national monuments, including Bears Ear National Monument in Utah, Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, and Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada and to consider opening them up to private development.

 

TAKE ACTION!

 

DEAR SECRETARY ZINKE,

WE THE UNDERSIGNED SUPPORT THE CONTINUED FEDERAL PROTECTION OF AMERICA'S NATIONAL MONUMENTS, INCLUDING CANYONS OF THE ANCIENTS AND BEARS EAR NATIONAL MONUMENTS. AS SKIERS, SNOWBOARDERS AND LOVERS OF THE OUTDOORS, WE BENEFIT CONSTANTLY FROM OUR COUNTRY'S PUBLIC LAND RESOURCES. THE PROTECTION OF OUR NATIONAL MONUMENTS NOT ONLY BENEFITS OUR ECONOMY, BUT IT PRESERVES OUR ECONOMY, OUR NATURAL INHERITANCE, AND OUR PUBLIC HEALTH.

Basin and Range National Monument - By BLM Nevada (Basin and Range National Monument) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Basin and Range National Monument - By BLM Nevada (Basin and Range National Monument) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - By Photo by Bob Wick, BLM. (http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument - By Photo by Bob Wick, BLM. (http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Weird Winters

The winter of 2016/17 has been a weird one.  From record-breaking snowpacks in some regions to early resort closures in others, skiers and snowboarders have experienced erratic and unusual weather across the country.

This unusual winter weather is another side effect of climate change.  As the climate warms, precipitation and weather patterns are changing in complicated and unpredictable ways, causing both unseasonably warm spells, and enormous destructive storms in turn. In fact, scientists believe the warming and changing climate is causing more storms of greater intensity each year, even in places where total snowpack is depleting.

 A look back at the past winter alone shows the destabilizing effect that climate change is having on our weather.  Here are just a few highlights:

A Winter of Weird Weather

In early December 2016, Beaver Creek resort was forced to cancel their annual mens world cup event due to unseasonably warm weather. 

By Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In early February, Jackson Hole Resort had to close for several days due to power outages caused by an enormous snow storm - “ a very unusual event” according to a Jackson Hole Spokesperson.  The same storm closed roads across Wyoming for almost a week.

By Torstein Frogner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Torstein Frogner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Also in February, the American Birkebeiner - the largest cross country ski race in North America - was cancelled due to lack of snow and warm temperatures in Wisconsin.  This is only the second time in its 45 year history that the race has been cancelled.

By Michael (originally posted to Flickr as Emerald Bay) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Michael (originally posted to Flickr as Emerald Bay) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In April, several California resorts announced they would be open into the summer, due to the size of their snowpack. The Lake Tahoe region received over 700 inches of snow this year, 250 over average.

This past weekend, Mount Washington in New Hampshire received a record breaking 30 inches of snow, while most New England ski mountains have been closed for weeks due to spring temperatures.

Finally, over all, it was an extremely warm winter - the second mildest on record in fact. And it’s no fluke; according to the New York Times winters are warming and spring is coming earlier and earlier each year. It’s “moved [up], on average, a full two weeks” in the last 50 years.

 

Climate Action is Essential to the Future of Snow Sports

While we can all appreciate skiing on the Fourth of July, we would prefer healthy stable winters for decades to come.  It’s important to recognize that the erratic and extreme winter weather we are experiencing, even the positive side effects, are visible symptoms of climate change. And without rapid meaningful action to combat climate change, the future of snow sports is very uncertain.

Help Snowriders act on climate by joining Snowriders today!

Colorado Public Lands Day is Coming Up!

Join Snowriders, Conservation Colorado and Rocky Mountain Underground at Arapahoe Basin on May 20th to celebrate the first Colorado Public Lands Day with games, prizes, and live music!

Saturday May 20th, 2017 marks the first ever Colorado Public Lands day - a day to celebrate the incredible resource that public lands provide to Coloradans. It’s fitting that Colorado would be the first state to formally celebrate their public lands. There’s a lot to celebrate! No less than 35% of Colorado’s land area - over 24 million acres - is public. Colorado is home to four national parks, eight national monuments and 41 state parks!  And by some estimates, public land generate $35 billion in spending for the Colorado state economy.  A large portion of this sum is thanks to all the ski areas that make use Colorado’s public land!

Skiers for Public Land

We agree with thousands of Coloradans, that public land are one of Colorado’s greatest assets.  Skiers reap huge benefits from this shared resource. For one thing, much of the land we ski on is publicly owned.  Twenty-three of Colorado’s major ski resorts use substantial quantities of public land including Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Vail, and all four Aspen Mountains.  Without the use of public lands, many of these ski resorts could not function.

Skiers benefit from public lands in other ways as well. The protection of Colorado’s public lands keeps the mountain air fresh and preserves our natural inheritance for generations to come. Federal and state stewardship of the land surrounding our ski slopes also preserves Colorado’s awe-inspiring views.  Some of the most iconic vistas in the state - from the Maroon Bells behind Aspen Highlands to the peak of Crested Butte -  are public land.

keep it public.png

Our Skiers for Public Lands campaign is working to build awareness for the important asset our public lands provide to us as skiers and as citizens. Protecting our public lands from private development is essential to the future of all outdoor recreation, as well our efforts to combat climate change and environmental degradation.

Come Celebrate Colorado’s Public Lands With Us!

On Saturday May 20th, we’ll be at Arapahoe Basin celebrating our public lands with Conservation Colorado and Rocky Mountain Underground! There’ll be games and prizes, a photo booth, and live music at the base as part of Arapahoe Basin’s annual swimsuit party!

Come find us at the base and take a photo for our #Skiers4PublicLands campaign!

Can’t make it to the event? You can still become a Skier for Public Lands by signing our petition here!

Spring Update on Snowriders' Transportation Campaign

In 2016, transportation overtook the power sector as the largest source of climate-change-causing carbon emissions in America. Over the past seven year, the production of electric power has decreased its annual carbon emissions while the transportation sector’s carbon footprint has continued to grow.  Part of the problem is our continued national dependence on personal cars to get us from point A to point B, despite its inefficiency and carbon footprint.

At Snowriders International, we believe that our carbon-intensive transportation sector needs fixing fast. Climate Change is increasingly threatening our sports, and air pollution caused by vehicles harms the mountain communities and natural places we love. And yet, the fact is, as skiers and snowboarders many of us rely on personal cars to get us to and from the slopes.  Often because it is the only affordable and convenient option.  

It doesn’t have to that way. Snowriders envisions a transportation system that gets people out of their cars and into sustainable, convenient and affordable transit options, not only to get around within cities, but also to get to the recreation areas we all enjoy.  The good news is that technology and demand are beginning to drive the expansion of public transit and rideshare services nation-wide. Over the past season, Snowriders has investigated and assessed the public and shared transportation options that are available to skiers heading to ski mountains near the Denver Metro Area in Colorado and Lake Tahoe, California.

CAR FREE SKIING IN COLORADO

Denver-area mountain recreation enthusiasts have learned to dread the weekend traffic on I-70 – the main corridor between Denver Metro Area and front-range ski resorts.  As mountain recreation enthusiasts flood out of Denver and into the mountains on weekends and holidays, highway traffic spikes causing terrible traffic jams and filling the roads with carbon-emitting idling cars.  The good news is that over the last few winter seasons, options for getting to the slopes without driving a personal car have increased in Colorado and smartphone technologies have made ridesharing and carpooling an increasingly efficient option.  Our guide, released in February with COPIRG Foundation highlights 13 shuttle or bus, and 8 rideshare options currently available to Colorado skiers.

GUIDE TO CAR-FREE SKIING IN TAHOE


An estimated 10 million cars visit Tahoe every year. And emissions are not the only problem associated with these cars. Vehicular traffic also forces communities and businesses to build larger and larger parking lots and is responsible for a large number of traffic accidents.  Our guide, released in March with Environment California Research and Policy Center, found seven bus or shuttle services and eight rideshare options to get skiers to the slopes from the Bay Area without their personal cars. The guide demonstrates that there are a number of options available to skiers concerned about their carbon footprint, but the cost and inconvenience of many of these highlights the needed for more work to make transportation out to Tahoe safer and more sustainable in future seasons.

Guide to Car-Free Skiing in Tahoe

Car-Free Skiing in Tahoe: Accessing Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area without Driving a Personal Car

 

For Immediate Release:

March 29, 2017

New guide from Snowriders International and Environment California Research and Policy Center shows fifteen public and shared transit options for skiers and boarders trying to get from the Bay Area to ski in Lake Tahoe without driving their personal car. The report highlights that public transit options to Tahoe from the Bay Area are limited, and advocates for greater investment and improved options by the beginning of next ski season. Find the guide here.

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Why Skiers should Care About RGGI

Right now, on the East Coast, nine states are in the process of deciding the fate of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced “Reggie”). If you are a skier concerned about the future of our snowy winters, particularly in the rapidly-warming Northeast, you should be paying close attention to these decisions.

Climate change is the greatest threat faced today by snow sports.  

Rising temperatures across the globe are causing shorter seasons, unpredictable storms, and troubling predictions for future winters. We need effective tools to quickly combat climate change and protect the future of skiing. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is just such a tool. Implemented in 2009, RGGI is a highly successful cap and trade program entered into by nine northeastern and mid-atlantic states in order to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. The program establishes a carbon cap and reduces it by 2.5% each year.  The revenue from the sales of the carbon allowances are invested in the clean energy economy. In this way, RGGI both reduces carbon emissions in the region and invests capital into clean energy alternatives.

Since its initiation, RGGI has successfully:

  • Slashed global warming pollution from power plants in HALF

  • Invested over $2.5 Billion in renewable energy

  • Created $5.7 Billion in health benefits including preventing 600 premature deaths, 9,000 asthma attacks and 43,000 missed days of work.

  • Created $3 Billion in economic benefits including creating more than 30,000 job years.

With 2016 reported as the hottest year on record, we need to strengthen and proliferate tools like RGGI and we can’t afford to see them weakened or rolled back.

 

Why Skiers need to Speak Up:

Among the nine member-states, are Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont - all big ski states, and states where skiers are feeling the impacts of climate change particularly acutely.  Folks who ski or board in the Northeast know that the changing climate has caused event cancellations, early closures, and warm winters punctuated by massive destructive storms in recent years.  Winters in this region are becoming even more fragile than most, but it’s not clear that all the governors involved have gotten the memo.

At the end of the review period, it will mostly be up to the governors’ offices to decide upon the new terms of the program - where to place the carbon cap and how quickly to reduce it - or to decide whether they wish to withdraw entirely.  With the exception of Charlie Baker, governor of Massachusetts, who came out in August in favor of a strong RGGI, most governors are keeping their thoughts on the matter very close to the chest, and the governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, has gone so far as to say he will consider pulling out of the program if other states are considering doing the same.

Skiers, snowboarders and the ski industry are a powerful voice in New Hampshire, and much of the region.  Ski industry business and seasonal tourism are important components in the regional economy and we know that clean air and snow-covered mountains are part of what makes this part of the country so special.  It’s important that we use our voices to advocate for the resources we value, so that is exactly what Snowriders is doing.

 

Here’s What We’re Doing to Support and Strengthen RGGI:

Snowriders is working with coalition partner, Environment New Hampshire, to highlight the widely shared benefits of the program and demonstrate its broad popular support throughout New Hampshire and the rest of the region. We are calling on the governors of many of the RGGI states to not only renew the program, but to support doubling RGGI’s strength through 2030 in order to scale back carbon emissions at an adequate rate to effectively combat climate change.  On February 22, the coalition released a letter with over 500 organization, elected officials, businesses, health professionals and academics urging governors to double the strength of RGGI through 2030 and address existing loopholes.  As the period of review stretches on, we are continuing to work with skiers and snowboarders in the region to demonstrate their support for a more robust RGGI in order to protect the winter resources that we value so highly.

Help support Snowriders’ work on RGGI, and beyond. Join Snowriders today!

Climate Change means More Storms but Less Powder

According to Cornell University: “While the severity of … extreme snowfalls is likely to increase, the number of days per year with snow on the ground is likely to decrease.”

Climate science is complex, making it difficult to predict the precise impacts that the warming climate will have on weather in any given region. One thing scientists seem to agree on across the board, however, is that the intensity of storms - from hurricanes to blizzards - is increasing.

A greater percentage of total precipitation is falling in the heaviest storms each year.

This means that the biggest storms are becoming more intense and more frequent.  Any skier could easily provide anecdotal evidence for this trend - whether is be the 4 feet of snow just received by areas of the Northeast last weekend, or the storm earlier this season that closed all Wyoming roads and forced Jackson Hole to shut down for almost a week.

(http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/heavy-downpours-increasing#graphic-16693)

(http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/heavy-downpours-increasing#graphic-16693)

Big storms are costing communities money in lost business, as well as plowing and repair costs.

These storms are also leading to injuries and even deaths.  According the National Centers for Environmental Information, a storm and associated cold-front that hit the East Coast in early February, 2015 had an estimated total cost of $3.1 billion and contributed to 30 deaths across 19 states!  This is just one of three winter storms in their database with an associated cost of $1.9 billion or more since 2010.

While Storm Intensity increases, total snowpack is decreasing.

Total inches of precipitation are decreasing in areas, and the snow that does fall is melting much faster.  Despite the trend of increasingly intense storms, scientists across the board have pessimistic predictions for future ski seasons.  Snowfall is predicted to decrease by as much as 70% in the Alps by 2100, and North American skiers are seeing spring come earlier and earlier each year.

More storms but less snow means shorter seasons for skiers, and expensive and unpredictable winters for local governments and ski resorts.

Help us fight back and protect the future of skiing and snowboarding. Take the Snowriders’ Pledge today!