We all know there’s only one way climate change will be taken seriously by the world’s population and, frankly, it’s going to take a lot more than an almost-US President outlining in fine detail why we’re doomed if we don’t do something about carbon emissions.

Yes, the only way we’ll take any notice is when climate change affects sport, and that time is now.

Close to home, local cricket seasons – and even 2007 football seasons – are being threatened or cancelled because of the drought. Entire ovals already have barely a blade of grass.

But we have it lucky. We could be Alpine skiers.

The New York Times reports that the European events of Alpine skiing’s World Cup are almost certain to be cancelled because of unseasonally high temperatures, which have pretty much put paid to that essential ingredient, snow.

“It will very quickly be a big crisis for us if we continue cancelling races in December,” said the International Ski Federation’s Atle Skaardal. “I think it’s very critical, not only for racing but for public skiing, which also has a big impact on racing. We all have to hope for colder temperatures and snowfall in Europe.”

Races have just been completed on crafted snow in Aspen, in the USA, while spectators stood on rocky ground watching. However, St Moritz, and Val d’Isere in France, the venues for races next weekend (December 9-10), are apparently so warm that organizers can’t even make artificial snow.

Top skiers can see that high temperatures burning off potential snowfalls is not a problem that’s about to go away as the Earth heats up. Gold medallist in the slalom at this year’s winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Sweden’s Anja Paerson, said: “Of course we’re all very worried about the future of our sport. Every year we have more trouble finding places to train.”

European ski resort managers have even taken to wrapping glaciers and snowfields in foam insulation to try and hold in whatever snow exists.

In Australia, this kind of news is nothing new. Almost exactly a year ago, The Age reported on fears among our own snow industry that global warming would nail local snow.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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