Thursday, November 19, 2009

Climate Change Threatens Our Livelihoods and Yours

The heads of the Aspen skiing company and the outdoor apparel company, The North Face, say their businesses are threatened by climate change, and so are you.

For them, it strikes right at the heart of their businesses--affecting even their namesakes:

As CEOs of two of the most widely known consumer brands in the outdoor recreation market -- Aspen Skiing Company and The North Face -- it gets our attention when our companies' namesakes start to vanish before our eyes.

In the summer of 2003, one of the most legendary and fearsome mountaineering routes in the world –– the North Face of the Eiger –– fell victim to climate change. An unusually warm summer melted much of the ice that makes this route in Switzerland passable. As temperatures continue to warm, this iconic passage may only exist in winter.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, aspen trees have begun dying off in huge numbers. Aspens can fall victim to many diseases, but science suggests that a warmer climate will lead to increasing tree mortality as a result of sickness, insect infestations and other pests.

In their line of business, say the CEO's, they are seeing and hearing about climate change from the athletes from around the world who they sponsor:

As our athletes and customers travel the globe, they tell us they see firsthand the changes taking place, from the recession of glaciers to the effects of severe drought. These impacts are having dramatic effects on the people and places many of us have come to love.

So what are they doing about it?  Lots...

And they are strongly in favor of strong climate change legislation:

We also know that these efforts are a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to be done. And that is why a strong global and national climate and energy policy is so important. America is at a critical crossroads on climate change: We can lead the world and jumpstart our economy by spearheading the transition to a low-carbon global economy, or we can delay and fall further behind China and other nations that already have cleaner, more efficient cars, and more established wind and solar power industries.

We pick the first choice, not because we are idealists, but because we are businessmen, and because solving climate change and creating a clean energy economy is a business imperative.  We believe that far from being a drag on economic growth as some fear, comprehensive climate and energy legislation will prove an economic stimulus for the long haul, creating millions of new jobs, spurring technological innovation and stabilizing business. This issue is not an abstraction to people like us. Aggressive action on climate change will preserve and protect the source of our profit and our passion: the stable climate, and the beautiful earth.

That is why we urge the Senate to take action now on a new and comprehensive climate change policy. This is the time for us to be the world leaders that we know we can be, and should be.

I am standing in my office applauding.  I'm also glad that my ski pants are North Face, and that I've spent many a powder day shredding Aspen Highlands and Snowmass.

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