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New Zealand Ski Slopes May See Melting Snow as Climate Change Continues to Heat Up World

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By Reissa Su | June 24, 2014 10:22 PM EST

New Zealand scientists have warned the loss of snow in the Southern Lakes region as the ski industry continues to face the threat of climate change. Climate scientists predict the snow in the Southern ski fields may one day disappear.

REUTERS/Stringer
People spend their day at the "Valle Nevado" ski center, east of Santiago, in the Los Andes mountain range. Picture taken June 16, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

However, the ski industry in the country said it is preparing for the effects of global warming. According to reports, the snow business in New Zealand is a $400 million industry and ski field operators are no strangers to investing millions to protect their interests from the future.

Scientists have warned the challenges will only escalate as global temperatures continue to rise. Dr James Renwick from the New Zealand Climate Change Centre said the snow will "inevitably go away" and it may continue within the next 40 to 50 years.

Renwick said southern alpine resorts will not lose the snow as quickly as their competitors will do, especially those in Australia. Ski industry consultant Hamish McCrostie, who has 32 years of experience in the ski industry, said man-made snow is more resilient than natural snow but comes at a price.

Renwick said governments around the world are talking about carbon pricing and the U.S. government is pushing for limiting carbon emissions. The cost of fuel may increase along with the air travel which will greatly affect tourism. He said international tourist organisations are going to start thinking about climate change.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he was caught off-guard by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plan and suggested his country will not scrap its emissions trading scheme as part of its climate change policy. With the UK and New Zealand out of the question, reports said Canada, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the helm, may be Australia's only possible ally on the matter.

On June 11, Barker told British reporters that the UK government will not stand with Australia in its efforts to block international regulation of carbon emissions. He said the UK has always been active in encouraging Australia and New Zealand to be proactive in seeking for a global climate change treaty.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer / )
People spend their day at the "Valle Nevado" ski center, east of Santiago, in the Los Andes mountain range. Picture taken June 16, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer
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