Ski champions demand climate action in Poznan
The skiers - including Olympic and world champions from the US like Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso as well as world and European champions from Poland like Magdalena Gwizdoń and Tomasz Sikora – have signed onto an urgent appeal by WWF. It addresses Maciej Nowicki, the Polish Environment Minister and President of the Poznan talks, and other Poznan delegates.
“From the European Alps to the Asian Himalayas, the US Rockies and the Central American Andes, global warming means milder winters and less snowfall”, the petition said. “Ice and snow are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, and as avid skiers and snowboarders we see our beloved sports endangered.”
The signatories demand a new global climate treaty which is ambitious enough to keep global warming below the danger-threshold of 2°C. They urge a peak of global emissions well before 2020 and a reduction of 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. As a crucial first step, they call on industrialized countries to cut their emissions by 25 to 40% by 2020.
“Skiers are first-hand witnesses of the destructive power of climate change, seeing glaciers retreat and snowpack disappear with their own eyes”, says Kim Carstensen, Leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative. “These massive changes endanger important species and alpine ecosystems and threaten local communities depending on tourism and winter sports.”
According to science, glaciers in the European Alps have decreased by at least 50% since 1850. If climate change intensifies as projected in upcoming decades, the snowline will move from 1200 to 1800 meters above mean sea level, leaving only 44% of existing ski centers with enough snow for the whole season.
Nearly all glaciers surveyed in Alaska are melting, with thinning rates in the last 5 to 7 years rising to more than twice those seen in previous years. Glaciers in the Northern Andes are receding rapidly and losses accelerated in the 1990s. The majority of Himalayan glaciers have also been retreating and thinning over the past 30 years, with accelerated loss in the last and current decade.