To all those sports fans out there who think climate science is hooey, or that the earth isn’t really warming the way science says it is, I suggest you consider the last Olympic Games as evidence of a significant warming trend.
I live in Vancouver BC Canada, the city that just hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I’ve lived there my entire life. In the 1980’s my friends and I would typically ski more than 100 times a year locally. Our favorite mountain at the time was Grouse Mountain because it had night skiing, a spectacular view, and it was only a 25 minute drive from where we lived.
Incidentally, Grouse Mountain is the location that NBC chose to do their Olympic broadcast from.
Today, that same drive to Grouse mountain takes double the time because like everywhere, especially in North America, the number of cars has been steadily increasing with population growth. In 1980, there were about 12 million cars on the road in Canada. By 2008 it was over 20 million. During that same time period America went from 140 million cars to almost 245 million.
Back in the 1980’s, 25 feet of snow on our local Vancouver mountains wasn’t uncommon. Most of us would buy a full season ski pass which would typically cover from late October through the end of April.
It was a terrific deal.
Today, it’s not such a terrific deal.
The ski season is now shorter despite the fact that our local mountains currently use state of the art snow making machines whenever possible. The same mountain that I used to ski 6 months out of the year in long underwear, I now climb all year round in a T-shirt and shorts.
I admit that I’m exaggerating a little to make a point. But, even so, from my perspective Vancouver BC Canada has become progressively warmer over the last 30 years. As a matter of fact, just last year we smashed an all time high temperature record that had stood since 1941. We smashed it by 0.5 of a degree.
The 2010 Winter Olympic Games were almost canceled due to lack of snow and unusually warm temperatures, in Canada, the Great White North, in the dead of winter. That said, I certainly wouldn’t be rushing out to buy shares in any of our local Vancouver ski hills right now. However, if I’m still alive when the oil and coal runs out, I may reconsider.
The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was another clue that maybe burning a river of oil and a mountain of coal might not be so good for the people or the planet. A year to the day before the start of the 2008 Games, the president of the International Olympic Committee said, “It’s an option.” He was talking about how endurance sports like cycling might be delayed or even canceled because of air pollution and smog.
So, back to back, we’ve witnessed a Summer Games in China almost canceled because of air pollution and smog, followed by a Winter Games in Canada almost canceled because of lack of snow and unusually warm winter temperatures.
I suppose, all we need now to complete the Trifecta is for deadly wildfires to burn the Olympic village to ash in the 2012 Games?
Perhaps it’s a good thing the next Olympics is being held in England and not Australia?
By the way, climate scientists predicted that wildfires would increase:
Anyone else notice an increase in wildfires around the world lately?