Group: Colorado ski industry could 'melt away'

Activists release report on climate change at Breckenridge rally

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— Colorado’s ski industry is in danger of “melting away” if Congress doesn’t act decisively on climate change legislation, said Dana Hoffman, an energy expert with Environment Colorado.

Joined by Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier and Vail Resorts environmental manager Dave November, Hoffman urged federal lawmakers to enact strong curbs on greenhouse gases. She warned that climate change could lead to more extreme weather, less snow and a shorter ski season.

“We can take back the future of our sport … by making a push for clean energy,” Hoffman said.

“Global warming is a critical issue here in Summit County,” Stiegelmeier said at Wednesday’s sparsely attended event at the Blue River Plaza in Breckenridge. “We’re the poster child for global warming impacts,” she said, singling out the mountain pine beetle invasion as an example of the consequences of climate change.

Stiegelmeier pointed out the high cost of dealing with the aftermath of the pine beetle epidemic. Cleaning up after the bugs can cost as much as $2,000 per acre. Summit County will spend $500,000 in 2010, she said, adding that it could be more cost-effective in the long run to take a proactive approach on climate change.

She said the cost of doing nothing could result in a big hit to Colorado’s $3 billion dollar ski industry.

“We need to move a lot faster,” she said.

Comments

canyonwind 4 years, 10 months ago

Wow just how is that going to happen? Steamboat Springs with a Jan average high temp of 28 degress is somehow going to not have powder days, Aspen, Vail and Breck will lose the ski industry due to global warming LOL . The Steamboat Pilot could not think their readers are that??? no this must be a mistake. The average temp has maybe went up 2 Degrees F in the past 100 years but since 1996 the warmest year since the 1930 the temp has gone down 1 degree F in the past 12 years due to low sun spot activity, that in a net gain of less that 1 degree, so if we were on the verge of losing our ski industry would not most or all the resorts in New Mexico, Arizona, Southern and Central California be closed for good since most of those resorts have a average Jan high temp in the upper 30's to low 40's , and are lower and farther South. I think congress has better things to do than try to play God. They need to put a stop to all this climate change non sense and need only worry about the business climate of this country.

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sledneck 4 years, 9 months ago

Well said Canyon.

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

Last year the temperature went above freezing point at the top of Mt Werner (see the Storm peak Lab temperature records) two weeks before the end of the ski season. This year it went above freezing more than 6 weeks. Never did that before. Can you say exponential increase? CO2 absorbs in the infrared region of the energy spectrum. No way around it. The more we burn the more we will learn.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

The pilot did not print this article because it thinks it's readers are that ????. It is simply reporting an event that clearly has local interest. Lets not shoot the messenger.

There is little doubt that the impact of modern mankind on the environment needs to be moderated. Few would support a return to the water polluting activities of past decades.

The same is true for air pollution. Changing the balance of gases significantly is simply unwise. The predictions and projections probably have some resemblance to what may eventually occur, but not the straight line cause and effect so often illustrated.

We know the earth as we inherited it was good. Any changes we make must be done with prudence and due regard for our posterity. The current practice of CO2 pollution does not meet that standard.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

When it is gone it is gone.

Remember it took 3.5 BILLION YEARS of Photosynthesis to produce the Carbon-based fuels and the O2 that we are burnin' up.

How much O2 does a tree produce in its lifetime? The same amount it uses up when it decomposes and/or burns.

As the partial pressure of O2 drops, more O2 comes out of solution from the Oceans into the atmosphere to replace the O2 that we are converting to CO2,H2O, NO2,3, SO3 etc. This is part of why we are seeing dead ocean zones arising in exponentially greater amounts.

People clear your heads and accept responsibility for what we are doing. We have to stop burning carbon based fuels. NOW!

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

Since genetic studies show that today's human genome "started" on Earth about 100,000 years ago, does this coincide with the warming trend since the last "major" ice age? (There was a lesser "ice age " caused by an asteroid that caused huge fires and airborn particles in North America about 12,000 years ago) Is this when this modern man began burning as distinguished from the other early hominids that existed before and during that time that did not contribute to our DNA? i.e. no cross breading with today's humans.

Simple chemistry of Photosynthesis and Oxidation (burning, decomposing) show that if we are burning something then we are indeed reversing Photosynthesis.

O2 absorbs in the UV portion of the energy spectrum and then excites the electrons to a higher level that allows O3(Ozone) to form which further absorbs UV at s different wavelength thus protecting us from UV damage of which DNA is highly susceptible to its affect.

As we use up the O2 there is less to become O3 where it should be. Way up There. More UV gets through and excites any susceptible air molecules' electrons to higher unstable levels which immediately release the energy and electrons which becomes a problem when the release happens in our lungs. Oxidation (irritation) of tissue in our lungs is the observable result.

So unless everyone understands simple chemistry and quantum physics then there will always be "unbelievers" which really means uneducated or those who don't understand.

Simply put when we run out of Carbon based fuels, we will have run out of O2 on Earth.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 6 months ago

We are being told that the global warming science is a done deal, end of discussion. What scientist would make that claim? With all the factors involved this is a statement for pure fools.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

Clearsky, As someone that understands chemistry and quantum physics as having passed those courses in college (and not some overview class but upper division quantum chem from the chemistry dept), I have to say your description of various chemical processes is complete BS.

You are confusing ppm of CO2 with one part in six oxygen. Burning of fossil fuels has no measurable effect upon O2 levels. We are not "using up" oxygen.

Ocean dead zones due to low oxygen levels is not caused by lower partial pressure of O2. It is caused by warmer water which can hold less dissolved O2 in solution and by fertilizer and other pollutants.

Global climate change is real because of how greenhouses retain heat in the lower atmosphere, but it is not going to be the end of snow in the high rockies or cause oxygen depletion.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

Clearsky, As someone that understands chemistry and quantum physics as having passed those courses in college (and not some overview class but upper division quantum chem from the chemistry dept), I have to say your description of various chemical processes is complete BS.

You are confusing ppm of CO2 with one part in six oxygen. Burning of fossil fuels has no measurable effect upon O2 levels. We are not "using up" oxygen.

Ocean dead zones due to low oxygen levels is not caused by lower partial pressure of O2. It is caused by warmer water which can hold less dissolved O2 in solution and by fertilizer and other pollutants.

Global climate change is real because of how greenhouse gases retain heat in the lower atmosphere, but it is not going to be the end of snow in the high rockies or cause oxygen depletion.

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freerider 4 years, 6 months ago

Washington loves this stuff...weather [ pun intended ] global warming is valid or not the spin doctors will tax the crap out of anything that looks like it causes global warming ...after all that's what they do best ....take take take take and take some more ....it's called fear mongering ...the foundation of all modern government

Most of the reports I've seen from the scientific community say global warming is a crock

Most of the reports from the political community say it's real [ they smell tax dollars ]

I don't trust anything Washington does anymore...we need to take care of other stuff first

Audit the Fed and dismantle the IRS

Get out of Iraq & Afganistan

No more bailouts

RON PAUL 2012

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

The scientific evidence for global climate change is deep and wide peer reviewed for over 40 years.

It was shown even before computer modeling that the earth with atmosphere but making no calculation for any greenhouse gas effect would be 50 degrees farenheit colder than it actually is. Thus, our planet in inhabitable because of greenhouse gases such as water vapor, CO2 and methane. I not found any paper disputing that basic result.

There is also no dispute that in the past 150 years we are increasing the levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane. And that the amount of CO2 being released is increasing significantly each year as more countries grow. US was once the global leader in CO2 emissions and now we are being passed by China.

The only dispute is regarding exactly what is the result of adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Some scientists think the result will be minor and others think it will catastrophic. Skeptical scientists have pointed out some specific cases of bad science by particular global warming scientists.

The mainstream scientific projection is that 450-500 ppm will cause significant changes. They can cite both historical data (and not dependent upon bad data) and sophisticated computer models.

The mainstream media does not do a good job of distinguishing between one scientist's provocative report and the extensive thorough work of many independent scientists working around the globe. And the mainstream media does an absolutely terrible job of reporting later on that the most dramatic claims of some high profile study have been disproven. Most have heard of the study showing a link between electrical transmissions and childhood cancers such as leukemia, but few have heard that followup studies have completely debunked that study (it was all expected statistical variations as same database showed lowered cancer rates in slightly younger and slightly older groups and so on). That also made sense because the calculated and measured magnetic/electrical effects from high overhead electrical transmission lines is dwarfed by what we get from nearby house wiring, TVs and electric motors.

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the_Lizard 4 years, 6 months ago

2007 Steamboat Pilot reports record snowfall for SS; as a reminder. "Last month's snowfall totaled 74.2 inches, according to longtime weather observer Art Judson. That number has been surpassed just three times according to records that go back to 1908, he added.

Judson's measurements were taken at a weather station perched above U.S. Highway 40 between downtown Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner, and do not reflect snowfall totals at Steamboat Ski Area. Older records were taken at different locations in the city."

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ybul 4 years, 6 months ago

Human activity accounts for 3% of the total carbon cycle. Topsoil organic matter is a major carbon sink, yet conventional ag system have depleted our topsoil and thus sent all of that carbon into the atmosphere that used to reside in topsoil.

Maybe simple systems can be put in place to extract quickly the extra carbon in the atmosphere.

This guy is working with farmers/ranchers with subsoil tilling to build topsoil by 3 inches per year. Maybe we should be focusing on eliminating grain subsidies which go to feed cattle in feedlots and return to a natural system where cattle graze on grass and help to build topsoil, as 90+% of what they eat returns to the soil in a more useable form for the plants and microbes that make the system work.

also a mooving message on on how to save the planet in 1,234,918,938,345 easy steps.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

Scott, you need to go back and look at Energy (Wavelength) absorption of O2 and Ozone.(Ultraviolet region) Then look at energy absorption of CO2, H2O etc.(Infrared region) The O2 in the Earth's atmosphere built up through Photosynthesis over 3.5 BILLION years. It also produced the Carbon based fuels we are burning with the very same O2. Simple chemistry. How much O2 does a tree produce? The same amount as it uses when it decomposes and or burns.(remember to factor in the leaves) Some day it will dawn on you then you will see. The chemical equation for combustion is the same as Photosynthesis. Just depends which way the arrows are pointing. And I wouldn't put your educational status on the line. you obviously are missing the simple picture.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

Oh yeah, One more thing. When airborn particulates such as the coal particles fill the sky with the ubiquitous haze throughout every part of the world including the Yampa Valley, It blocks some of the infrared energy from reaching the surface YET the atmosphere above the particulates HEATS up unnoticed by we humans. This is similar to a large volcanic eruption that has shown in the past to minutely cool temperatures on the surface. Or similar to the effects after an asteroid crashes into the Earth and kicks up a lot of hot glassified particles. So the enormous amount of haze actually changes the observed surface temperature by cooling underneath the particulates.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

And Lizard, we are not talking about snow fall, we are talking about Temperature measured in Centigrade. When scientists say that there has been global average temperature increase of 1 degree they are referring to 1 ' centigrade which is almost 2' F. (1.86'F) So snow will gradually be replaced by rain. Goodbye powder! It was a great time in human /Earth's history.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

And Scott got my B.S. and Ph.D in Biochemistry.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

Clearsky, Yes, burning carbon fuels creates CO2 and consumes oxygen.

Atmosphere contains 20.95% oxygen (oops, I had earlier written one out of 6 when it was one of 5).

Atmospheric CO2 is about 400 ppm or .04% and was about .03% a couple hundred ago. That difference is around .01%.

So maybe atmospheric O2 was 20.96% a couple hundred years ago. The difference of .01% of atmospheric oxygen consumed by burning carbon fuels is not responsible for ozone depletion or ocean dead zones.

That is why I earlier said that you were confusing ppm with affecting an one in 6 concentration (should have been one in 5).

If you think I am wrong then show me the partial pressure equations for dissolved oxygen in saltwater and the change caused by 20.95% vs historic 20.96% atmospheric oxygen.

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seeuski 4 years, 6 months ago

Clearsky, You waited out the whole Winter while it snowed in 49 States and we had record cold temps in the US and around the World, to join Al Gore in this renewed hoax? We have been watching the house of cards fall all Winter with many of the IPCC scientists having been thoroughly discredited with their falsified data. Take Al Gore and go back into the foxhole. And please, pickup any trash you run across as this is where you can best help the planet, I do. P.S. Great stuff Scott.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

Seesuki, This is no hoax. The fundamental theory of greenhouse gases making the planet warmer than it would be without greenhouse gases is not in dispute. The only dispute among scientists is how much of a change at what concentration of greenhouse gases.

But that does not mean that every self serving dire prediction is based upon scientific research.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

Scott You are talking about percentages rather than quantities. Partial pressures are more accurate. When someone measures percentages with an Oxygen analyzer he/she calibrates the devise with 100% O2 and then at room air he/she SETS it to 21%. Quantity of O2 has to decrease if we reverse Photosynthesis. There is no way around it. If today's Photosynthesis could keep up then there would be NO noticeable change in atmospheric CO2. The O2 quantity in our atmosphere built up over 3.5 BILLION years. 3.5 billion years. How much have we used up in the past 100 years? Put yourself in the largest sealed glass structure you can imagine. Fill it with as many Photosynthetic organisms you can. You may be OK for a while. Now run your car for a few hours. Can you now see what will happen???? Simple!!!!

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

Clearsky, You still don't get the concept of large vs small numbers.

An analogy would be a pristine mountain lake. Say a family moves next to it. They use the lake water as their water source. Yes, that is using water, but the lake is so big that they will never empty the lake. Their usage has no measurable effect on the amount of water in the lake. But the family is not careful and they are polluting the lake. The lake holds a lot of water, but if their pollutants are unhealthy in the ppm range then it does not require that much pollution to make the lake water unhealthy.

So, once again, global climate change and the burning of fossil fuels does not cause a problem with a possible shortage of atmospheric oxygen. The problem is the CO2 being released. At the most extreme situation of burning carbon fuels, the level of CO2 would be fatal to humans at a point in which atmospheric oxygen was still 20% which is the equivalence of gaining a few hundred feet of attitude.

I do not know how to make it any clearer. Running out of atmospheric oxygen is not the issue. The issue is the increasing levels of greenhouse gases. There is enough oxygen that the greenhouse gases will kill us before we even notice the decrease in oxygen levels.

In particular, we have use .01% of oxygen in the past 100 years. Get the idea that running out of oxygen is not the problem?

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

The above data reveal that a 100 meg decrease in the O2 / N2 ratio over an approximate 7 year period. The expression of O2/N2 is given in units of per meg and corresponds to an equivalent of 1 ppm O2 = 4.77 meg. This means the figure above translates into a 3 ppm decrease in the overall concentration of the oxygen in the atmosphere (0.0003%). This in turn equates to an equivalent of 3 x 109 tons of O2 (9.4 x 1013 mols ) every year that are consumed due to consumption of fossil fuels. Quantity of O2 protects life on Earth from UV Energy.

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the_Lizard 4 years, 6 months ago

Clearsky, No you are wrong, Hoffman talked about less snowfall in this article, I'm just pointing out that 3 years ago there was record setting snowfall. " Hoffman urged federal lawmakers to enact strong curbs on greenhouse gases. She warned that climate change could lead to more extreme weather, less snow and a shorter ski season."

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ybul 4 years, 6 months ago

How do you figure that the decrease in O2 is entirely the result of fossil fuel consumption? You ever stop to think that we are growing less organic matter and thus converting less CO2 back into O2 through photosynthesis?

Maybe if we focused on how to covert CO2 into O2 then the CO2 issue would be a non-issue (especially if one considers that a melting of glaciers means more water to facilitate the process, or pumping water from the pacific to arid regions as is being done in Mexico). I know of people growing 3-6 fold more grass on their land than neighbors because of their management techniques. Maybe the issue of CO2 is not quite as cut dry as you are making it.

Too bad so little value is placed on food in this country as it could be used to solve many of our problems. Yet eating is considered a chore by many and they do not ponder the downstream ramifications of their actions, facilitated by government subsidies of destructive behavior.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

Once food is eaten it is metabolized by combining with the same amount O2 the plant produced. A plant releases O2 as it makes it Carbon-based structure. When the plant is metabolized, burned, or decomposes it uses up the SAME amount of O2 it produced in its lifetime. The reason we have a surplus of O2 in the atmosphere is because the organic matter (Carbon based fuels) got buried and did not have contact with O2 in the atmosphere. So Coal, Petroleum, natural gas, methane, are the carbon based fuel with the proportional amounts of O2 in the Atmosphere. As we convert O2 to CO2, H2O, NOx, SOx by burning of the "fossil fuels",we use up the O2. Less above our heads to absorb the high energy of the Sun, allowing more UV Energy to make it down to the surface causing increased DNA damage to susceptible organisms. That is why there is Ozone at the surface where it should not be.

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Clearsky 4 years, 6 months ago

ybul, You have hit the nail on the head! If we used solar energy to convert water into Hydrogen and O2 then we will have a balance. We will still use up the O2 when the Hydrogen goes through a fuel cell yet the amount made will equal the amount used. So we all need to install solar panels , store the hydrogen, and use fuel cells and battery bank as an energy storage site to compensate for peak demand. It is being done by some but it has been expensive.

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ybul 4 years, 6 months ago

Why would you use solar panels, their production typically is more toxic than many other process that exist. Many production methods give off some green house gas 1000 times more potent than CO2.

Why not simply use wind power, it could provide the entire country with power several times over and provide a base load if turbines are constructed in the mid section of the country.

As far as hydrogen production goes, that is major reason to protect and put to use any water rights in the area so that the income from the production of hydrogen stays in the area. Build a large transmission line from I-80 to Craig and do the electrolysis with Yampa water and pipe it to the front range to produce power and water for residents over there and make a good income for residents over here.

Anuvu, had a fuel cell vehicle for sale in 2002 which beat the snot off all its competitors and subsequently was bought out by some other company, most likely to keep the technology off the streets. The CEO, I spoke with anticipated that the cost of a vehicle at 100k in 2002 using hand build fuel cells would come down to normal vehicle prices when they built their production facility. However, that never occurred.

Anyway, if you really think that CO2 is a problem then you should strongly oppose farm subsidies as they cause the earth to be tilled exposing carbon, which also oxidizes and gets into the atmosphere. Using up that O2 you are speaking of. All our problems did not come about because of us burning fossil fuels, though their use makes the tilling of fields easier. Our soils have less than half the carbon they did 100 years ago, restoring our soils would fixing the problems we have, with CO2. Don't get started on methane and cows as they are critical to soil rebuilding and rice paddies produce as much or more methane as cows.

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ybul 4 years, 6 months ago

---Once food is eaten it is metabolized by combining with the same amount O2 the plant produced. A plant releases O2 as it makes it Carbon-based structure. When the plant is metabolized, burned, or decomposes it uses up the SAME amount of O2 it produced in its lifetime.----

You see in grass lands 2/3 of the organic matter resides in the root systems of the plants. These are pruned when they are grazed by ruminants, which are not very efficient creatures as 90% of what they eat is returned to the soil. There beetles take the dung under ground and used by the microbes in the soil. However, it is possible to manage this system in a fashion in which you are building soil organic matter and thus storing carbon back under ground.

Only saw your last post when I posted before.

Also, in the above situation of extracting hydrogen from water via wind power (also a product of the sun) you could take a carbon source from somewhere and use a solar concentrator to combine the two elements using the fisher tropsche process to make oil which could then be used in our current energy infrastructure.

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seeuski 4 years, 6 months ago

Hold on to your hoax until June we are still getting snow and Al Gore sent you all out a little too soon.

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canyonwind 4 years, 5 months ago

I was talking to some friends out west and some of the ski resorts in So Cal have a 9 foot base. And look what happened in Washington DC last month, 4 feet of snow just steps from Nancy Pelosi's office! With all the hot air that comes from that orifice it's a wonder they even get a winter back there

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