Which are negative impacts due to climate change on cableways ? – Johanne Neuffer

Introduction

The nature is the most important asset for tourism development and thus, for cableways. RMS (remontées mécaniques suisses) are aware of that and consider detaining the obligation of taking the best care of natural resources.
In that sense, ecology and economy aren’t necessarily contradictory.

Tourists demand this prefect nature. However, in Switzerland people were thinking that this nature could be available forever. Although the evolution of cableways was so quick that negative impacts occurred on the environment and the landscape.

Context

Since that, in 1970s, the Confederation decides to control new infrastructures for cableways and grants it with a lot of consideration. Moreover. They decide to protect pristine regions by preventing new installations.
Which is the more important for RMS is the quality not the quantity. That is why, in the region already built the quality of the touristic offer has to be constantly adapt to new technical standards by improving the existing infrastructures.

RMS work in collaboration with the confederation because most important projects have to be submit to a study of the impact on environment. They also collaborate with services of protection of the environment. It is important for them to have exchange and opinions together in order to improve.

Analysis/Results

A greater challenge for RMS is to deal with transports. There are one of the most negative impact. All the tourists who are coming by cars or planes make a lot of pollution. Then, RMS have a partnership with public transports to encourage tourists to take it and not their cars.

All these problems result on global warming and climate change, it’s a vicious circle and the only way to keep a healthy planet is to minimize the impacts as possible.

Climatic changes have a crucial importance. They concern more the winter months than the summer. During the summer and the other seasons, climate modifications and their influence on the cableways companies are less important. Nowadays, climatic changes bring warmer weather and thus, winters are getting closer to springs. Snowfalls are decreasing but more intense, combined to more important temperature variations. There is nothing to do to guarantee snowfalls at any time, which put in stand-by sport and winter tourism
In the future, the average snow coverage limit will increase to more than 1500 metres.
The solutions can be artificial snowing and creating new infrastructures and replacing infrastructures exclusively at more than 1500m.

Another great solution is to use solar energy for cableways. The world premiere of that kind of infrastructure take place in Tenna, a small village in canton of Grisons, Switzerland, which is an effective innovation.

solar-ski-tenna1(http://envi2bio.com/2011/12/27/premiere-mondiale-linauguration-dun-teleski-solaire-dans-les-grisons/solar-ski-tenna-2/)

Conclusion/outlook

To conclude, climatic changes will have impacts on snowfalls but also on the demand for winter sports. In the medium term, interest of the young generation for ski could decrease because in few years they will not be able to ski near their location, they will have to go at an altitude of 1500 or 2000 metres. Contrary to the current generation which has the opportunity to learn skiing just 30 minutes from their location.

Another considerable impact will be the thaw of the permafrost, which means a subsoil permanently frozen for at least two years. This represent a threat for cableways because of temperature’s variations, some infrastructures could get weakened. Furthermore, this thaw increase as well landslides, falling rocks and torrential lava. These natural disasters could result in a stopping or destruction of cableways.

Here are solutions to take into account in order to face climate changes in a positive way:

  • Promote high altitude destination which are already equipped in order to have the security of snow coverage
  • Renew old installations and protect them against natural disasters
  • Merge together some societies of cableways and to close some others with compensation to optimize ski
  • Inform openly the population and tourists and to make them aware about climatic questions and problems

References

Internet:

http://www.seilbahnen.org/Environnement.html

http://www.rts.ch/video/info/journal-12h45/3678002-le-premier-teleski-solaire-au-monde-se-trouve-en-suisse-et-plus-precisement-a-tenna-dans-les-grisons.html

http://archives.tdg.ch/actu/suisse/grisons-lancent-premier-teleski-solaire-monde-2011-12-02

PDF:

http://www.seilbahnen.org/dcs/users/174/Fakten_Zahlen_2012_f.pdf

http://www.occc.ch/products/ch2050/PDF_F/12-tourisme.pdf

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