Snowboarder Jeremy Jones Frames Combating Climate Change as Saving Snow Jobs

"Our mountain economies still have a fighting chance, and we will fight for them."

Professional snowboarder and founder of Protect Our Winters Jeremy Jones wrote an op-ed for The New York Times Friday that aims to shift the focus of the climate change debate.

In it, Jones touts a forthcoming study by POW that shows the economics of the snow industry.

“In total, the 191,000 jobs supported by snow sports in the 2015-16 winter season generated $6.9 billion in wages, while adding $11.3 billion in economic value to the national economy,” Jones says.

This is certainly a different approach that has come from the side arguing for stricter measures to be taken to combat climate change. Discussion on that side often consists of morality and little of economics (even though renewable energy industries are beginning to employ more people than non-renewable energy industries).

Conversely, the climate change skeptic argument tends to focus on economics and how hindering non-renewable energy industries will hurt the economy and kill jobs.

So Jones has decided to reframe the argument, and focus the debate on the same issue. What’s more, this op-ed comes on the heels of a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis in which it clocks the outdoor recreation industry in at $373.7 billion in 2016 (or two-percent of the U.S. GDP).

He also references a recent study that “has found that if global emissions of greenhouse gases are not significantly reduced, only eight of the 21 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics will be cold enough to reliably do so again by the end of this century.”

Jones goes on in the op-ed to state how Republicans in mountain towns and states have voted to subsidize fossil fuel industries, in effect killing snow industry jobs. And these are the same legislators that claim to be pro-jobs when it comes to the climate change argument.

As Jones states at the end of the editorial, “The fossil fuel economy that they are voting to subsidize at substantial expense, both financial and environmental, won't last, and the sooner we move to renewable energy technologies, the better off we'll be. Our mountain economies still have a fighting chance, and we will fight for them.”

To read the full editorial, head to The New York Times.

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