Powder in Paris: Climate Change Talks To Stay

Six days after the attacks in Paris, the need to save snow just got a lot more important

At 8 p.m. last Friday, I walked into a nondescript television studio in midtown Manhattan to tell the world why disappearing snow on our planet is everyone’s problem. A woman at the front desk said the shoot was cancelled. Guards had surrounded the Paris facility where The Climate Reality Project was broadcasting 24 Hours of Reality in advance of the COP21 Paris climate talks. The unthinkable had happened.

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Six days later we live in a new world—with all of the same problems. Is climate change to blame? No, but it plays a role. Is ISIS to blame? Yes, but there are many other factors. Are the COP21 climate talks in Paris in December going to continue? Yes they are, because with all of the crises in the world, the thing we need more than anything is to come together. Is POWDER still going to Paris to participate in COP21? Damn right we are. And you can too by signing this petition along with thousands of skiers.

Six days later we live in a new world—with all of the same problems.

If anything, there is now more reason to go. The terrorists did their cowardly deed. The world watched in horror. Borders were closed, airports shut down. The international community pledged solidarity with France, and France announced that nothing would intimidate it—or stop the climate negotiations.

President Obama along with President Xi of China and 135 heads of state have notified the French government that they will be attending COP21. That is because the Paris climate talks are a milestone—and perhaps the last chance—for governments around the world to fight our common enemy. At this late juncture, there is no other choice.

Reuters reported this week that by 2060, declining snowpacks in the northern hemisphere will threaten water supplies for two billion people. “Basins in northern and central California, the Ebro-Duero basin in Portugal, Spain, and southern France and the Shatt al-Arab basin affecting much of the Middle East including Iraq and Syria count among those most sensitive to changes,” the article reads.

That’s right, California and the Middle East are connected. The same way that diminishing snowpacks in America’s mountain ranges are connected to the historic drought in the U.S. West, forest fires, declining crops, pine beetle infestations, and degraded river habitat. The same way the world’s first climate refugee in Kiribati, who watched his home get swallowed by a rising sea, is related to the alarming rate at which the Greenland ice sheet is melting.

Reuters reported this week that by 2060, declining snowpacks in the northern hemisphere will threaten water supplies for two billion people

In America, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is projected to decrease 40 to 70 percent by 2050. Same goes for the Cascades. On our current track, the snow depth at Park City will be zero by the end of this century and skiing at Aspen will be reduced to the top 25-percent of the mountain. Not to mention the drastic effect to everything downstream.

On the eve of this historic meeting, I wonder what statistic people need in order to get onboard? What number will drive home the message that this is real; we still have time; this is our fight; a fight that will be the most important of our lives? Answer this: What would you do if 1,200 of the leading cancer doctors in the world told you that your son or daughter had six months to live? Would you question them? Would you search the internet for someone to prove them wrong, thinking that would make the cancer go away? Probably not. You would ask them about a cure.

More than 10,000 diplomats, advocates, and journalists are headed to Paris to search for a cure November 30, and nothing is going to stop them from forging one. Thousands more will gather in the streets of Paris to pressure officials to do it right. You can help. Sign this petition demanding that leaders come home from Paris with an ambitious, legally binding climate change plan.

The attacks in Paris last week changed that city and the world. The victims and their loved ones will never be forgotten. The cowards who walked the streets of the City of Light and fired on unarmed innocent people thought they were starting a revolution. Indeed they were. And in two weeks it will bring the countries of the world together for good.