Tuesday, February 2, 2016

As Climate Changes, Poor Winters Hurt Adirondack Tourism

Mountaineer in Keene ValleyThe most profitable months for the tourism-based businesses in the Adirondacks are without question July and August. This is when families take their summer vacations, the weather is warm, and the bugs are tolerable. But while summer is crucial for small businesses, a successful winter season can mean the difference between making money or not for the year.

Vinny McClelland, owner of the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, knows this as much as anyone. His business depends on customers who recreate in the outdoors. In winter, they include backcountry skiers, ice climbers, mountaineers, and snowshoers. If there is a shortage of snow or ice in the winter, chances are there will be a shortage of customers visiting the Adirondacks and his store.

“When we have a good winter, it means we are going to make money that year,” McClelland said. A warm winter means the business has to struggle to get by until the summer tourists return. Some don’t make it. Those that do take a hit to their profit margin.

If temperatures continue to rise as a result of climate change, the Adirondack Park is likely to see bad winters more and more. That bodes ill for the Mountaineer and other businesses that rely on winter tourism to tide them over until the following summer.

In annual surveys for Essex County, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) has found that only 30 percent of tourism revenue is generated between November and April. The most popular winter activities in the county are alpine skiing and snowboarding.

Clearly, the warmer months attract far more visitors, but ROOST CEO Jim McKenna is still concerned about the potential impact of climate change on the winter economy. “Even though it’s not the largest [part] of our business, it certainly is a large component,” McKenna said.

Roost_StatsOverall, recent winters in the Adirondacks haven’t been as cold or as snowy as they were several decades ago. The evidence for this is both scientific and anecdotal.

Mike Farmer, tourism director for the town of Webb Visitor Information Center, grew up in the Old Forge area and has noticed a big difference in winter weather patterns since he was a kid in the 1960s. “We had more snow on a regular basis, year in, year out,” said Farmer, who remembers a few days when temperatures fell to fifty degrees below zero.

McClelland has also noticed that the winters have become less severe in the northern Adirondacks than in the early years of the Mountaineer, which opened forty years ago. “The most significant change that I’ve observed is that our winter is about two weeks shorter on both ends,” McClelland said. “In addition, we used to have temperatures routinely between thirty and forty degrees below zero. We rarely get temperatures that cold anymore. In addition, we used to have one major thaw every year, maybe two. Now we have multiple thaws. We used to sell a ton of minus-forty-degree sleeping bags; [now] we don’t sell anywhere near as many. We sell most of them to people going to places other than the Adirondacks because [here] you can get away with a minus-twenty-degree bag pretty easily.”

Science backs up these recollections. Although the last two winters have been very cold, there is a long-term warming trend. A 2009 study that looked at data from Adirondack weather stations between 1975 and 2005 found that the average temperature increased 3.4 degrees in December, 2.3 degrees in January, and 2.1 degrees in February. The study was published in the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies.

Scientists say climate change has been occurring for at least a century. Between 1895 and 2011, the average annual temperatures in the Northeast increased by nearly two degrees, while the average annual precipitation increased by about five inches, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment. Scientists predict that precipitation will continue to increase for the Adirondacks.

Temperatures are expected to rise even faster this century. If carbon-dioxide emissions continue to rise, a warming of four and a half to ten degrees is projected for the Northeast by the 2080s. If emission rates are reduced substantially, the temperature is still projected to increase three to six degrees.

Some of the best evidence of winter warming is in ice records. For example, a 2010 report by the Nature Conservancy found that Lake Champlain freezes about two weeks later than it did in the early 1800s and about nine days later than in 1900. In the nineteenth century, Lake Champlain froze in all but three winters. In the last four decades, the lake has frozen only about half the time.

White Stuff = Green StuffThe Adirondack Park won’t lose its winters in the near future, but rising temperatures over the long term will mean less snow and fewer opportunities for winter recreation. It’s hard to quantify what the economic impacts will be. However, the winter of 2011-2012 could be seen as a test case. That winter was the fourth warmest on record in the continental United States according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Dominic Jacangelo, executive director of the New York Snowmobilers Association, said that before that winter about 130,000 snowmobiles were registered in the state each year. Because of the lack of snow in the 2011-2012 winter, the number plunged to about ninety thousand.

“That might give you a measure of what would happen if it really warmed up,” Jacangelo said. “That was not a fun year for snowmobiling, and we lost 30 percent of the people out there snowmobiling.”

Such a big drop in snowmobiling, if permanent, would have a big impact especially in the central and southern Adirondacks. Old Forge, in the southwestern part of the Park, bills itself as the Snowmobile Capital of the East and attracts riders from throughout the state and beyond. The region has an extensive trail system and plenty of hotels and restaurants to accommodate snowmobilers once they get out of the woods. “It’s a very welcoming community for the sport,” Jacangelo remarked.

Farmer said the town of Webb, which includes Old Forge, sells more than ten thousand trail passes a year for a trail system that links Old Forge with Inlet, Raquette Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, and Long Lake. Overall, he said snowmobiling generates an average of about $16 million annually for the towns.

Given snowmobiling’s popularity in that part of the Park, Farmer estimates that 40 percent of tourism revenue in the Old Forge area is generated in winter. In a long, cold winter—that is, a good winter—the number may be closer to 50 percent, he said.

Farmer said Old Forge, like other communities in the Park, sees more visitors in summer, but winter visitors, especially snowmobilers, tend to spend more. “There are probably five times as many people here in the summer as there are in the winter,” he said. “The difference is the people that come in the winter stay longer. Most of them have vacation homes here.”

Old Forge lies in a snow belt, but Farmer said the region has taken steps to adapt to low-snow conditions. The towns start maintaining the trails before winter and have five grooming machines that run two shifts a day, weather permitting. “Get a little snow into the trails, and they will make it last forever,” Farmer said. “Long after other areas are out of snow, we’re still in business.”

Jacangelo theorized that this could also be a potential scenario in the future. That the Adirondacks could be one of the few places where snowmobiling is possible because it may no longer snow in areas with warmer climates.

“The Adirondacks are going to become even more important,” he said.

Cross-country-ski centers face similar issues as snowmobile trail networks since they also rely on natural snow. In recent years, the Dewey Mountain Ski Center in Saranac Lake, for example, has not received enough snow to open until January, according to manager Jason Smith. Thus, Dewey missed out on the important Christmas week.

White Stuff = Green StuffThe Christmas and President’s Week holidays — when kids are out of school — are vital for winter-tourism business. “Snowy holidays are definitely a big bonus for us, and we haven’t had much of that in recent years,” Smith said.

Dewey Mountain is now building flatter and wider trails that don’t need as much snow to be skiable, as part of an overall effort to improve the venue. That isn’t an adaptation that came about necessarily because of climate change, but it does help them deal with having less snow.

“Little by little we’ve been picking apart our trails and trying to flatten them as much as possible and create really flat, even surfaces so that with minimal snow cover we can get out and start packing snow, grooming, and skiing,” he said.

Downhill ski resorts can cope with climate change by making more snow. The state-owned Whiteface Mountain Ski Area has purchased high-capacity snow guns that are fully automated and have built-in weather stations, allowing them to make snow at optimal temperatures.

“We’ve invested pretty heavily in our snowmaking system, and having that ability to make a tremendous amount of snow in a small amount of time that allows us to cope with some of these climate-change issues,” said Aaron Kellett, Whiteface’s general manager. “When we do have those weird freeze-thaws we are able to get back on our feet again quicker. We’re able to get open earlier [in the season]. We’re able to stay open later.”

Located in Wilmington, east of Lake Placid, Whiteface is one of the biggest draws in the Adirondacks, and it’s an economic engine for the region, with skiers spending money in nearby lodging establishments, restaurants, and other businesses. Despite the changing climate, Kellett said, Whiteface has seen an increase in visitors over the past fifteen years. In fact, it had its busiest season last winter, when attendance reached 216,000. In comparison, attendance was 154,000 in the winter of 2000-2001.

But Kellett remains tempered in his optimism. He noted that while the past two winters were very cold and conducive to snowmaking, the winter of 2011-2012 was not. Temperatures spiked into the seventies in March, forcing the ski mountain to shut down much earlier than normal.

“There’s just these crazy, fluctuating weather conditions that we’re being thrown in the past few years,” he said. “They’re hard to predict. We have to adapt to it and it’s forcing us to adapt to it, unfortunately, but we’re doing everything we can.”

Yet even if Whiteface and Old Forge manage to adapt to climate change, they still must contend with the “backyard effect.” If the weather is balmy where tourists live, they tend to put winter sports out of mind.

“If it’s raining in February and people are looking at grass out their front window, they’re not all jumping in their cars and coming up here,” Farmer said.

Kellett agreed. “A white Christmas in New York City supports us more than a white Christmas in the Adirondacks,” he said.

And once people start engaging in springtime activities such as golf, attendance drops at Whiteface Mountain even if snow conditions remain good.

To combat the backyard effect, Whiteface and the town of Webb deploy webcams to show current weather conditions. “We tell the people look for yourself,” Farmer said. “It’s real time. You can see not only how much snow but how the people are using it.”

If nothing else, climate change underscores the intimate connection between the natural world and the economy in the Adirondacks.

“Everything we have here is based on natural resources, but it’s weather dependent,” Farmer said. “If we have decent weather, summer or winter, no matter what the fuel costs are, no matter what the economy is doing, many of those people are coming.”

Photos from above: The Mountaineer in Keene Valley (photo by Carl Heilmann II); seasonal tourism in Essex County (graph  courtesy ROOST); snowmobiler and nordic skiiers photos by Nancie Battaglia.

This story originally appeared in the Adirondack Explorer, a nonprofit newsmagazine devoted to the protection and enjoyment of the Adirondack Park. Get a full print or digital subscription here.

 


Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.


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54 Responses

  1. Todd Eastman says:

    “Why it’s 40 below, got a heater in my truck, and I off to the rodeo…”

  2. Brian says:

    As I sit here and read this article on the 3rd day of February, in Forestport it is pouring rain and temps are expected to rise close to 50 F. How I miss the winters that used to be. What little snow we have on the ground is taking a beating and all that good skiing is going with it. Grrrrrr.!

  3. Peter D says:

    Pish, Sean Hannity promises that this is all just “weather”. Nothing to see here. Besides, soon we’ll all be able to trade our snowmobiles in for ATVs…you’ll see, this is all good for the economy!

  4. Bellota says:

    Ironic, but doesn’t snowmobiling contribute to carbon in the atmosphere? Just asking.

    • Boreas says:

      Yes, pretty much anything with an internal combustion engine.

      • David P. Lubic says:

        For that matter, breathing contributes to CO2. The problem is our powered machinery of any kind, running on that stored sunlight called fossil fuels, is overpowering the balancing mechanisms of plants and the oceans.

        It’s really a problem of scale and ultimately balance.

  5. harabingatz@yahoo.com says:

    Total hogwash. Anything happens, it’s global warming!! There is no proof whatsoever that there is global warming/climate change or whatever the name du jour is. All these “experts” that are screaming that the sky is falling are all federally funded scientists who dance to the song they are told to.

  6. Pete Klein says:

    This is not Global Warming. This is El Nino.
    I have seen several winters like this back in the 50’s.
    But I will say this. Winter, spring, summer or fall, if you depend on certain weather conditions to make a living and draw tourists, you might be paddling up the creek without a paddle.

    • adkDreamer says:

      Thank you Pete Klein – a voice of reason. All business ventures inherently contain risk. To rush to judgement on a single cause for the demise of a business should always be viewed as suspect and anecdotal.

    • Dan L says:

      To say “this is not global warming” is unscientific, no matter how you try to spin it. It is climate disruption with El Nino on top. To think otherwise is simply irrational.

    • Boreas says:

      This is considered a much stronger than normal El Nino.

  7. Keith Gorgas says:

    While I don’t expect this winter to be the norm, it underscores the foolishness of ripping up the railroad tracks to build a snowmobile highway. On a year like this, without the railroad and RailExplorers, the travel corridor would be worthless to the local economy. Trails with Rails is a win/win for all New Yorkers and Adirondackers in particular.

    • Boreas says:

      Do you expect a lot of rail travel in winters with no snow?? Snow affects everyone. Another reason to rip up the rails so that all people can enjoy the trail year round – without snowmobiles!

    • Bruce says:

      Keith,

      I would agree with you, if it were possible to have rail with trail. Unfortunately, when the environmental study was done, it was determined there are areas where the ROW can’t be widened sufficiently without violating Wilderness or Primitive provisions of the SLMP.

      With the compromise, Tupper Lake stands to benefit by connecting the rail line from Remsen with the trail. It seems to me the primary benefit to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid will be hikers, bikers, snowmobilers and skiers going point to point between the 3 towns on the trail. I would hardly call it worthless. I’m sure the Adirondacks won’t stop having snow any time soon, and if it does, hikers and bikers can still use the trail in winter.

      • David Lubic says:

        I must disagree with this. The main reason for this trail is the snowmobile crowd wants what amounts to a superhighway for high speed running. There are already trails in existence that can be used for the hiker and bicyclist. They don’t need the railroad removed, only the snow crowd does.

        And the snow crowd, like it or not, is in decline. Check the registration numbers and sales numbers. . .

        • Bruce says:

          David,

          Read my first paragraph to Keith above about why a trail alongside the rails cannot be done without major changes to the SLMP.

          How many of those trails you mentioned connect 3 significant towns where users can eat, sleep, shop etc?. I see this as a great point to point opportunity for all trail users who wish to do so, winter or summer. The more successful trails throughout the country offer just this kind of capability.

          • David P. Lubic says:

            Except it’s my understanding that you already have these trails, or that it’s not too hard to get them. That was the whole point of the TRAC proposal that just got trashed.

            Frankly, a lot of the “problems” seem to be institutional (read, “opinions”), not physical. This seems to be particularly obvious when strong trail supporters like Jim McCulley told TRAC people they “didn’t know what they were talking about.” Really? When that bunch included people who run a tourist oriented business in the Adirondacks, when the trail data they assembled included ownership data in segments as short as 10 feet?

  8. Another reason to wonder at the wisdom of ripping up the RR tracks in favor of having a trail for snowmobiles.

  9. Dan L says:

    It is foolish, illegal and destructive of the most precious resource we have to be bulldozing the Forest Preserve to construct roads for gus guzzling super snowmachines.

  10. Charlie S says:

    “We had more snow on a regular basis, year in, year out,” said Farmer, who remembers a few days when temperatures fell to fifty degrees below zero.”

    There are definitely hot and cold cycles as weather records dating back to the 1600’s proves.I’m open to both the warming trend being cyclic and/or carbon emissions as the cause though strongly I feel it’s the latter. We certainly do like to get around in our obnoxious gas guzzlers and each year we’re putting more and more and more of them out and if it ‘is’ carbon emissions that is warming this planet I figure we’ll be cooked before the century is up.Who cares about our progeny in 2099 anyway? It’s all about us right?

  11. Charlie S says:

    The Earth is our ship and on board are fools without end Dan L. A ship of fools I say. It’s a depressing thought knowing how reckless we actually are.

  12. Charlie S says:

    “If emission rates are reduced substantially, the temperature is still projected to increase three to six degrees.”

    Tell that to these mindless people who start their cars up 10 or 15 minutes before they drive off …even when it’s 40 or 50 degrees. Tell that to Joe and Mary Gump who just have to let their engines idle while they’re inside the store for however long,or at the pump. In some places there are hefty fines for such mindlessness. To think of the revenue municipalities cold rake in were they to start penalizing people for this behavior. This country would be out of debt in one week!

  13. Charlie S says:

    “snowmobiling generates an average of about $16 million annually for the towns.”

    Always about the money of course. Do not fear! If snowless winters become routine we can always start allowing atv’s on Adirondack trails.This would surely be a big hit what with all the motorheads out there and what’s more important…a source of revenue or the Adirondack wilderness?

    • David Lubic says:

      What hasn’t been mentioned so far is the long decline that’s been going on in snowmobiling for the last 16 years (30% drop in registrations), and an amazing–and catastrophic–decline in sales nationwide (66%!) If you own a business and you’re struggling and wondering about the snowmobile portion of the winter trade–well, it’s no wonder, nearly a third of it has dried up and blown away.

      Snowmobiling supposedly has this huge economic impact in the Adirondacks in winter, but it’s not a miracle worker, and that decline would be another reason to question the wisdom of removing the railroad.

  14. Charlie S says:

    harabingatz@yahoo.com says: ” All these “experts” that are screaming that the sky is falling are all federally funded scientists who dance to the song they are told to.”

    And who’s song are you dancing to harab?

  15. Charlie S says:

    “The Adirondacks are going to become even more important,”

    Most definitely so!

  16. John says:

    I just checked with the Republican National Committee, there is no such thing as Global warming or Climate Change, it’s all a hoax the Democrats are spinning. Gas is cheap and there was a big snowstorm in the Midwest, proof that it’s all just hype.

  17. Paul says:

    This is sort of a marketing challenge. Warmer temps and less snow could easily lead to more climbers and business for a place like the mountaineer. It is a testament to snow-making that the face has had several of their longest seasons that past few years. You should also be able to lure tourists from the more marginal areas to the high peaks where winter is still colder.

    Warmer climate with mountains have climbers we will too it is a matter of getting use to the change. It isn’t like the mountains down south don’t have climbers.

    This winter I wished I still lived out west. Friends there have emailed me on almost a daily basis with reports on all the snow. Vail is up to 15 feet and the big snows of the season haven’t even started yet. Cold too.

    • Boreas says:

      Unfortunately, what I believe is being predicted for our area are warmer temps and increased precipitation. That sounds a lot to me like a much longer mud season on both ends. That will be quite a challenge for trail maintenance.

    • Bruce says:

      Paul,

      I live in western North Carolina. I believe the difference here is primarily that it’s pretty much a year-round economy. People come from the north because it’s warmer in winter, and then when schools get out there’s a big boost in summer.

      You only have to travel between Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN to see it’s busy year round. More outdoors in summer with theme parks, and more indoor activities in winter, such as outlet style shopping and dinner theaters.

      If the Adirondacks were to warm significantly in winter, I believe the same would eventually be true (year-round), but for the time being folks are used to rather sharply defined seasonal activities. I’m not sure I would like to see the Adirondacks have a place like Sevier County, TN, along Rte. 441 although the economics would be enormous.

  18. Paul says:

    What is the data for tourism dollars since it is what this story is really about?

    Are we down over the last decades? Or is there at least a marked drop in the rate of increase?

  19. James Falcsik says:

    Paul; you will find ROOST data here: http://www.roostadk.com/research

    From the 2014 Leisure Survey, skiing and cycling did not rank as high in 2014 as it did in the previous two years; snowmobiling represented only 7.7% of leisure activity.

  20. JR says:

    I just want to know why the Media has swept the Global Cooling of the 70’s
    scare under the rug? Hollywood was ‘all in’ on that one as well.

    • Boreas says:

      JR,

      If you are referring to news media, they are typically only interested in news, not history. But if you are referring to the scientific community, there are a couple answers.

      1. In the 70’s a few scientists were trying to get their heads around some cooling data they found. Glaciation cycles are fact and it was easy to assume another was on the way. It was far from worldwide agreement among scientists. The media just reported what was being tossed around.

      2. Today’s scientists have significantly more and better data, plus computer modeling that wasn’t available 50 years ago. They also have access to ice core samples storing millennia of atmospheric data. Another data source that is now available is satellite imaging.

      Scientists don’t have all the answers, but the majority are simply trying to alert mankind to a warming trend that is dramatically more significant and potentially more destructive than the cooling trend reported in the 70’s. There was nowhere near the same amount of agreement in the 70’s. The trend, whether natural, mankind related, or a combination of both could result in significant changes for civilization. They are putting the data out there – it is up to mankind to decide what can be done about it, if anything.

  21. Dave Mason says:

    Last summer, at the Common Ground Alliance Forum, there was a small group working session on climate change in the Adirondacks. The group explored a couple of different scenarios about how it might impact the park, and also how changes here might fit into the larger context of responses to climate change. A summary of the discussion was written up and can be found here:

    https://adkfutures.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/summary-of-climate-change-working-group-cga-2015-w-full-text-scenarios.pdf

  22. Charlie S says:

    Boreas says: “whether natural, mankind related, or a combination of both could result in significant changes for civilization.”

    All the bombs we drop,the oil we spill,the toxins we put in the air & in the water,the carbon emissions,etc.. cannot be helping matters Boreas.Surely they will be the major contributors to the end of civilization as we know it. A day hardly passes when there’s not news on some environmental woe or another. Recently there was a report in the WSJ (or NYT) about the fish in our oceans that will not survive a warming planet.The list was long. Will we change our ways anytime soon? I have my doubts! Sadly I say!

  23. David Lubic says:

    For those who would deny climate change, it’s notable that the Department of Agriculture revised its hardiness zone maps a couple of years ago. Seems the zones for plants that don’t like things too warm has moved northward, followed by the zone for plants that don’t like things too cold.

    The last I knew, plants weren’t members of conspiracy theories or were in the business of being bought out by any sort of special interest; they just grow where they grow.

    • Boreas says:

      People who get their information and view the world from the pulpit of talk radio “personalities” aren’t likely to change their opinions until their sources of information change theirs.

      Regardless of what cool-aid we drink, whether warm winters are a trend or are just part of a cycle, lack of snow still effects businesses who cater to the snow crowd. Without this additional snow income, a large percentage of businesses will have to close during winter and mud season, or close for good. This will likely have a terrible cascade effect throughout the region and even the state. Any long-term regional and local planning needs to take this possible scenario into account.

  24. Paul says:

    Couldn’t you put some kinds of wheels on the snowmobiles so that they can travel w/o snow? What do they call those things? Right – ATVs.

  25. James Falcsik says:

    The news that Franklin County legislators have passed a resolution that supports retaining and improving the railroad for the communities of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, joining Harrietstown last month, indicates other community leaders are not willing to reduce economic diversity by removing the railroad: http://www.lakeplacidnews.com/page/content.detail/id/524744.html

    • James Falcsik says:

      Sorry, my mistake; Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake.

      • Boreas says:

        What I read is that they support side-by-side rail & trail, which I would too if I were in their position – ask for everything as long as I don’t have to pay for it. What they need to decide is either one or the other, as that is the most likely outcome.

        • James Falcsik says:

          Text of the Franklin County resolution:

          BE IT RESOLVED that the legislators of Franklin County fully support retention and upgrading of the rail infrastructure that serves the communities of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, New York. Further, legislators fully support the necessary investment in a trail network within and alongside the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor that was envisioned in the original Unit Management Plan in 1996. These investments will enhance current and future economic and recreation opportunities in the communities along the corridor in Franklin County, for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities.

          Boreas, the most likely and possible outcome could be trail segments of a few miles along the railroad where possible. This would match the average trail user demographic. This would not look like the 34 mile sled super highway that trail boosters require. This would not require rail removal.

          • Boreas says:

            “This would not look like the 34 mile sled super highway that trail boosters require.”

            James,

            I am a trail booster, and I would just as soon see NO motorized access other than patrolling, maintenance and electric access vehicles for people unable to walk. People who want the trail shouldn’t be painted with quite so wide a brush. Not everyone who would like to see a multipurpose trail is part of ARTA or agrees with all of their goals. My goal is simply to see the entire corridor be as productive as possible for the majority of NYS residents.

            That being said, I say if Franklin Co. is intending to pay for the addition and maintenance of a parallel trail, then great. But I doubt they will appreciate much of a draw beyond their county if it is only going to be short segments. It will serve mostly pedestrians as most serious bikers and skiers won’t bother with a short trail.

            • James Falcsik says:

              Fair enough. I would say the snowmobile component of support for removing the rails requires the 34 mile continuous trail. I am simply suggesting the shorter trails better match the average local user, which by all research of similar trails indicate this is who the majority of users are. They are demonstrated to walk, run or ride for about an hour each week. The average bike ride is only 2 miles. Sure, you will have die-hard serious cyclists that will balk, but these will be a very very small percentage.

  26. David P. Lubic says:

    One thing that I think is important to consider in the climate change debate is that we might have the perspective wrong.

    We hear all this talk the need to “save the planet.” Truth is, the planet itself does not need saving. It will continue to exist and even have life on it until the sun exhausts much of its fuel and turns into a red giant. The question is, what kind of life will live on it, in particular will that life include what we have for agriculture? It’s trite to say it, but without farms, we have a serious food problem.

    We shouldn’t worry too much about the planet, which has experienced mass extinctions in the past. We should worry about us.

    • Boreas says:

      Agreed. When any species outgrows its food supply, the population will crash. Adding stresses to the ocean food chain and drought to agricultural lands will eventually cut down on CO2 emissions from humans – and not voluntarily.

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