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Charlie Fisher,
Environment Oregon

Global Warming has Winter Games Skating on Thin Ice

For Immediate Release

Portland, OR – As the world turns its attention to the Sochi Olympic Games, Environment Oregon revealed a summary of global warming impacts on Winter Olympic sports, and highlighting the need to act urgently to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming.

“When it comes to the future of winter sports, global warming has us skating on thin ice,” said Charlie Fisher, field organizer, with Environment Oregon. “There’s still time to keep from sliding off the edge by going after the biggest sources of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.”

Environment Oregon pointed to increased rate of snow melt, shorter winters, drought, and a shrinking map of reliable winter host sites, as climate impacts are threatening the Winter Olympic Games. They also warned that unchecked global warming could accelerate these changes. At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, organizers trucked in and manufactured tons of extra snow. The unusually warm conditions that trigger these extreme measures could become the new normal.

Power plants that burn fossil fuels like coal and gas are the largest sources of carbon pollution in the U.S. But while there are limits on smog, soot, and other dangerous pollution from power plants, there are no federal limits on the industrial carbon pollution power plants emit.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments on its proposal to start limiting carbon pollution from new power plants, and plans to propose limits on carbon from existing power plants in June. Americans have already submitted 4 million comments to the EPA supporting limits on carbon pollution from power plants.

The Winter Olympic Games aren’t the only victims of climate change – scientists are seeing global warming’s fingerprints in Oregon – with more intense summer fires and increasingly acidifying ocean.

“President Obama has committed to protecting our children and grandchildren from the worst impacts of global warming, but the EPA’s proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants is not yet in place,” concluded Fisher. “The fossil fuel industry and their allies in Congress are already lining up to block the president’s plan. Oregon’s leaders must show their support for climate action.”