09 September 2010

Local CO2 Emissions Reductions in Aspen: "Viciously Difficult"

The Aspen Times recently had an interesting article on the difficulties of reducing emissions at the local level, based on the experiences of The Aspen Ski Company (h/t Colorado Power Forecast):
[R]educing the carbon emissions is difficult because the Skico's operations are growing. There are more summer activities and greater use of snowmaking. That results in the Skico burning more fossil fuels that produce carbon emissions. Those greenhouses gases cause climate change. The Skico's extensive environmental policy is concentrated on one goal — battling climate change.

Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan reinforced that point Wednesday while speaking to more than 200 members of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association at an annual meeting at the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain. He said the company is lobbying for regional and national legislation to reduce carbon emissions, as well as trying to reduce its own emissions. The fate of the ski industry, and resorts like Aspen, depends on stopping climate change, he said.

“We really do need to put a price on carbon if our kids and grandkids are going to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in this valley,” Kaplan said. “We can't continue as we are.”

Schendler said it will be irrelevant if the Skico reduces its carbon emissions by the targeted 10 percent by 2012 and 25 percent by 2020, but no national action is taken with a carbon tax.

But even taking care of its own carbon isn't a given.

I've maintained all along this is viciously difficult and we can't do it alone,” Schendler said.
The relationship between economic growth and emissions reductions is clear: economic growth wins out.  I call this fact -- and it is a fact -- the "iron law of climate policy" in The Climate Fix.  I'll have more more on this in the coming weeks.