US Ski Resorts Say Decision to Withdraw from Paris Agreement Wrong

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 5th June 2017

The owners and operators of a growing number of US ski resorts have issued statements saying that they disagree with the American President’s decision to join Syria and Nicaragua as the only three countries in the world not to be part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change (Syria was excluded due to its civil war, Nicaragua decided not to sign as it felt the agreement did not go far enough in fighting climate change).

Most high profile of the resort operators to speak out has been Rob Katz (above), the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts, the largest ski resort operator in North America running Vail, Whistler, Stowe, Park City, Heavenly, Breckenridge and half a dozen other ski resorts, as well as the southern hemisphere’s largest ski area, Perisher in Australia, who said,

“We are deeply saddened by the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.  As a global company, Vail Resorts believes we have a unique responsibility to protect the incredible natural landscapes and environment that surround our mountain resorts and those across our planet.  Climate change is a global challenge that requires global cooperation, and it is disheartening to see the United States pull away from working with the other 194 countries that were part of the Agreement. Vail Resorts will redouble our efforts to find significant ways to minimize our carbon footprint through reducing our energy use to help address one of the most serious challenges facing our worldwide community.”

Reaction to the statements from ski resort operators from skiers and snowboarders has been mixed with some welcoming the move but others saying ‘politics should be kept out of skiing’ – to which resort operators have, on the whole, responded that this is beyond politics and relates to the future of snowsports as well as greater issues for the world.

Others have said it is hypocritical for ski resorts to make statements on the matter when, in the view of those making the comments, they contribute to climate change themselves by encouraging air travel and mechanised activity in remote areas.

The governors of many individual US ‘ski states’ estimated to represent 70% of the US land mass, have said they intend to stick to the Paris Climate Change Agreement in any case regardless of the President’s decision.


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