An Indian Civilizational Perspective

No Snow to Ski, So Europeans are onto Golfing, Hiking and Swimming.

So the Europeans are taking to Golf and hiking in the ski resorts and building swimming pools – because it aint snowing enough in their mountains! The Global Warming for them is real! No wonder it is the Europeans who are most eager to enforce the Kyoto agreements for Global Warming!

Visitors to the famed French ski resort of Megève this month can stop by the Santa’s Village display or see a performance of The Nutcracker on Ice at the local skating rink. But they probably won’t be able to ski. Megève has gotten so little snow this season that a planned Dec. 20 World Cup women’s slalom event had to be canceled.

Megève isn’t the only European resort that’s short on the white stuff. Many alpine regions had the warmest November on record. December temperatures have been unusually balmy, too. World Cup races at two other French locales and at St. Moritz, Switzerland, also were called off. Resorts in Italy and the Bavarian Alps are snow-deprived as well.

The problem, experts say, is global warming—and it’s going to get worse. About 10% of the 666 medium-to-large ski areas in the Alps “are already operating under marginal conditions” because of insufficient snowfall in recent years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says in a report released Dec. 13. Within 15 years, one-quarter of the region’s ski areas will be unable to offer reliable skiing conditions, the OECD says, and by 2050 the number will rise to almost 40%.
Temperature Rising

The predictions are based on the assumption that global average temperatures will rise one degree centigrade by 2020, and another one degree by 2050. Many scientists consider this scenario inevitable, even if aggressive measures are taken soon to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. The average worldwide temperature this year is about four-tenths of a degree centigrade higher than the average during the period from 1961 to 1990, according to the World Meteorological Association.

These projections cast a long shadow over the Alpine tourist industry, which draws a big chunk of its $65 billion annual revenues from skiing. Already, some banks are refusing to lend money to lower-altitude ski resorts, says Shaardul Agrawala, the administrator for climate change at the Paris-based OECD.

To survive, many ski areas are hustling to develop alternative attractions. The Berchtesgaden Land resort in the Bavarian Alps, for example, is promoting “GPS Treks,” in which hikers are given global-positioning devices to guide them. Others are building ice-skating rinks and sponsoring Christmas markets and festivals. “We are aware of the fact that it will be warmer, that we have to make changes,” says Angelika Nuscheler, spokeswoman for the Tourism Association of Munich and Upper Bavaria.

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