In terms of climate change, the German Alpine Association warns against the expansion of ski areas at sensitive altitudes and previously untouched glacier areas. The Mountaineering and Environment Association on Tuesday evening in Munich outlined a new wave of development. In the Ötztal Alps alone, three major projects are planned – two for ski areas and one for hydroelectric power.
The fact that these developments are the result of rising temperatures around the world becomes apparent only at a second glance. As a result of the lack of snow and – as in last winter – temperatures that were sometimes too mild for artificial skiing, the ski areas are said to have been moved to locations higher than the glaciers.
According to the European Union’s climate change service Copernicus, more glacier ice has melted than ever before in the European Alps in 2022. Alpine glaciers have lost more than five cubic kilometers of ice. If you were to compress this block of ice into a cube, the edges of the cube would be about five and a half times the height of the Eiffel Tower.
Skiing rather than future prospects
“In both projects, in the Kaunertal and Pitztal ski areas, glacier areas that were hitherto completely natural and of great importance for natural mountain sports will be developed,” club president, Roland Stierle, criticized. “For a few more years of skiing, future prospects in gentle tourism will be sacrificed here.” Because in the flat and built up area no one wants to go for high rides or hiking in the mountains anymore.
Regarding the planned expansion of the power plant in Kunertal, Stirl said: On the other hand, the expansion of renewable energies should reduce carbon dioxide pollution. On the other hand, swamps will be destroyed as natural carbon dioxide stores and free-flowing rivers will be destroyed. Ötztal is already threatened by a lack of water due to retreating glaciers. Drainage of water through the power plant would exacerbate this deficiency significantly. “Of course we need an energy transition, but we must not forget about nature.”
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