Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Cloud Seeding just an ad hoc response to global climate change rather than an effective plan for Kosciuszko National Park

With climatic change an increasing reality, the Carr government has proposed cloud seeding as a response to one of the first obvious consequences of this global crisis, citing "concerns about a shorter snow season" as one its primary concerns. The Colong Foundation today urges the government to develop long term climate change policies for Kosciuszko National Park and the state, and not to rely on ad hoc policy on the run to appease the ski industry.

"While it is crucial that the Carr government threw its support behind the Kyoto Protocol on Greenhouse gas emissions, something the Howard federal government has failed to do, it must go further and take a lead in developing sustainable policies to address this crisis. Placing numerous cloud seeding burners on remote pristine park areas will require special legislation to legitimise abuse of the state's only alpine region, itself an international biosphere reserve," said Fiona McCrossin, assistant director, Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

"In the case of Kosciuszko, the government has produced a behind the scenes deal designed to extend a ski season which is recognised internationally as a tragic, and inevitable, loss due to global warming," continued Ms McCrossin.

"Internationally, scientists, including those of our own CSIRO, predict a continued rise in the snow line due to climate change. In Switzerland, when the snow reliability rises to 1,800m, only 44% of skiing regions will be designated as snow reliable. In Australia it is predicted that by 2030, Charlotte's Pass, also at 1,800 m, will be the only viable ski resort. In Canada, the average ski season will reduce by 7-32% in the 2050s and 11-57% in the 2050s.*In addition, a peer reviewed report by an Independent Scientific Committee (ISC), set up by the Carr government, made clear statements about pressures on Kosciuszko's alpine areas, including those due to ski resort development. It has made a series of recommendations. These need to be actively pursued by government," said Ms McCrossin.

"The ski industry, unhappy with the ISC recommendations, have called them biased and pulled out of all community participation processes, relying instead on behind closed door deals."

"Australia's tiny alpine areas are priceless. The Foundation has always had grave concerns over the scale and impacts of the ski resorts. Despite the inevitable lack of snow, they continue in their relentless push for growth. They epitomise the alienation of public national park lands for private and commercial purposes." concluded Ms McCrossin

* (Rolf Burrki et al.,Climate Change ñ Impacts on the Tourism Industry in Mo8unatin Areas; 1st International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, Djerba, 9-11 April 2003)

For more information contact: Keith Muir (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)