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UNO confirms global warming poses threat to winter sports everywhere

Dec 04, 2003 / alpMedia
According to a new study on the economic repercussions of the climate change on winter sports many low-altitude ski resorts are set to face financial difficulties or even bankruptcy due to global warming. The study was commissioned by the UN Environmental Program and presented at the World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Turin/I on 2 December.
The study forecasts for instance that over the next thirty to fifty years the snow limit in Austria will rise by up to 300 m. This would mean that Kitzbühel, which lies at an altitude of only 760 m, would be one of the most prominent victims of the change in climate. One of the main countries affected besides Austria would be Germany, where many ski resorts are situated at medium altitude. If the unfavourable trend were to continue, in fifty years' time only 44% of ski regions in Switzerland would be able to guarantee snow, compared with 85% at present. Experts estimate that annual losses to the Swiss tourist industry could amount to as much as US$ 1.6 bn. Ski regions on other continents such as North America and Australia will also have to contend with similar problems.
In view of the rising costs of artificial snow installations low-lying ski resorts are already finding it hard to make ends meet. What's more, the higher the temperatures the more inefficient, expensive or even impossible it becomes to produce artificial snow. The study also addresses other consequences of global warming such as recessive glaciers or the increased risk of natural hazards.
Source and information: (en)