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Travelers can trace carbon footprint

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

WHISTLER, B.C. ” People traveling to Whistler will soon be able to consult a Web site that tells them the cost, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, of their trips. Included will be comparisons of travel by jet, train, and car.

The new Web site also will allow travelers to buy carbon offsets for their travel. The site is being constructed in a partnership between Tourism Whistler ” the resort’s community promotional organization ” and the city government.

The provincial government in British Columbia, which has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent by 2020, is paying for a bulk of the work through a grant designed to promote energy efficiency.

The purchase of carbon offsets has been criticized broadly in the last year as ineffectual, accomplishing little more than absolving the guilt of those responsible for the pollution.

Ted Battiston, who oversees sustainability planning for Whistler, concedes that they are a second-best measure. “We’ve got to try to make emission reduction on the ground at the same time,” he says.

But Battiston also says that the credibility of carbon offsets has been bolstered as more third-party verification and auditing procedures have been adopted. However, it is still crucial to determine which carbon offset programs are what they say they are.

He is working with a nonprofit group called Offsettters.ca.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. ” AAA, the automobile group, had announced its five-diamond ratings of lodging. Among the 100 in North America, 5 are at the base of ski slopes: the Ritz-Carlton in Beaver Creek, the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the Little Nell in Aspen, the Four Seasons in Whistler, B.C., and the Stein Erickson Lodge in Park City, Utah.

BANFF, Alberta ” Pyeto, one of the glaciers in Banff National Park, has shrunk by 70 percent since it was observed in 1896.

That statistic is contained in a report about the park by Parks Canada. The report notes greater changes underway and likely to accelerate.

“Obviously, we are looking at managing climate change, adapting to it, and mitigating the effects of climate change,” said Mike Murtha, senior park planner.

The report notes that, as predicted by global warming theory, minimum temperatures at Banff have been increasing faster than maximum temperatures, and winter temperatures have increased faster than spring and summer temperatures.

For unexplained reasons, an exception has been noted at Lake Louise.


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