Could Global Warming Turn Aspen Into Amarillo?

December 1 2009, 11:54 AM
governor-herbert-headshotWhen Auden Schendler, the executive director of sustainability for the Aspen Skiing Company, hears denials of global warming, he gets defensive---especially when the naysayer is Utah Governor Gary Herbert (right). "We're not environmentalists, we're business people. We have studied the hell out of the climate science. To have a neighboring governor not believe it... It's absurd," Schendler tells The Associated Press. The ski industry's motives are selfish; it's concerned for its own profitable future. A climate study by the Aspen Global Change Institute supposes that if global emissions keep rising, Aspen will warm by 14 degrees around 2100, leaving it with a climate more like that of Amarillo, Texas. The solution, according to Schendler, is federal legislation to reduce the pollution that creates climate change, which could spur international cooperation. But politicians like Herbert and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, also a Utah Republican, recently worked to oppose so-called "cap-and-trade" legislation meant to reduce the effects of coal pollution. Aspen Skiing isn't just waiting for legislation. It boasts three of the 10 greenest ski areas in the western United States, according to the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition (via The Aspen Times). Meanwhile, University of Colorado global warming skeptic Roger A. Pielke Jr. notes the unexpected dissemination of thousands of climate-research files from the University of East Anglia could restore a "good deal of credibility" to climate research if it is shown researchers did not misrepresent the data, writes The New York Times.