Tuesday, February 3, 2015

EPA Chief: In Year 2100, 'Aspen’s Climate Could Be a Lot Like That of Amarillo, TX'

    In a move that might have at least the northeast section of the country shaking its head this week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy took to the EPA and White House blogs Wednesday to declare that "We Must Act Now to Protect Our Winters." McCarthy was in Aspen, CO, last week, famous ski destination and home to an X-Games venue, and she warned that without action on climate change, "Aspen’s climate could be a lot like that of Amarillo, TX, by 2100." Her post reads in part:
2014 was the hottest year on record, and each of the last three decades has been hotter than the last. 
In mountain towns that depend on winter tourism, the realities of climate change really hit home. Shorter, warmer winters mean a shorter season to enjoy the winter sports we love—and a financial hit for local economies that depend on winter sports. 
Even if you hate winter, climate change affects you – because climate risks are economic risks. Skiing, snowboarding and other types of winter recreation add $67 billion to the economy every year, and they support 900,000 jobs.... 
There are a lot of small businesses in Aspen that can’t survive without tourists coming into town, and I sat down for a chat with them in the afternoon. If we fail to act, Aspen’s climate could be a lot like that of Amarillo, TX, by 2100. Amarillo is a great town, but it’s a lousy place to ski.
    According to the website usclimatedata.com, temperatures and snowfall in Aspen and Amarillo compare as follows:
AspenAnnual high temperature: 55.8°F
Annual low temperature: 28.3°F
Average temperature: 42.05°F
Av. annual snowfall: 179 inch 
AmarilloAnnual high temperature: 70.9°F
Annual low temperature: 43.7°F
Average temperature: 57.3°F
Av. annual snowfall: 19 inch
    For the climate of Aspen to resemble that of Amarillo, a temperature swing of 15 degrees and a 13-foot drop in annual snowfall would need to take place over the next 85 years.  Even the most catastrophic models of global temperature change in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) do not predict a temperature increase of 15 degrees. An attempt to contact Administrator McCarthy was not returned.
    McCarthy's entire post can be read here or here.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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