Graham Givens,
Environment North Carolina

Global Warming has Winter Games Skating on Thin Ice

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC – As the world turns its attention to the Sochi Olympic Games, Environment North Carolina 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.

“North Carolina may be feeling the effects of a particularly harsh winter, but when it comes to the future of winter sports, global warming has us skating on thin ice,” said Graham Givens, Clean Energy Associate, with Environment North Carolina. “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 North Carolina 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. In Sochi this year, temperatures have reached the sixties, impacting a number of snow sports. The unusually warm conditions that trigger these extreme measures could become the new normal.

Over 100 winter Olympic athletes have already called for climate action in a recent letter from Protect our Winters. The letter highlights how the athletes would lose critical training time and overall, the sports that they compete in. 

The Winter Olympic Games won’t be the only victims of climate change and our ski resorts here in North Carolina could be affected, hurting the businesses that rely on a good ski seasons.    

Power plants that burn fossil fuels like coal and gas are the largest sources of carbon pollution in the U.S. North Carolina is home to five of the dirtiest power plants in the country that make up more than half of the state’s total carbon pollution. 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.

“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 Givens. “The fossil fuel industry and their allies in Congress are already lining up to block the president’s plan. North Carolina’s leaders must show their support for climate action.”


Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group, working to protect the places we love and the values we share.