WASHINGTON, DC— Today the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change met with representatives from the NBA, WNBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to discuss the effects of climate change on these leagues and the work the organizations are doing to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The members also released written responses from the leagues to the Task Force’s request for views on actions the federal government could take to address climate change.
“Congress can learn a lot about climate change from the leagues,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman. “They recognize the problem is real, they recognize the threat it poses to their sports, and they are acting to protect the environment.”
“Our major sports organizations are taking climate change seriously and doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because they know that few things define American society like the teams we cheer and the games we play,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “Now it is time for Congress to set aside the polluter-fueled fantasies, and join these leagues in addressing climate change.”
“Whether it’s the slow death of pond hockey or increasing heat for football practices, global warming is negatively affecting the games we play and the sports we love,” said Sen. Ed Markey. “And just like steroids have distorted some of our sports records, carbon pollution is distorting our climate, breaking records and leading to more extreme weather. So whether you root for the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma Thunder, the Carolina Hurricanes, or any team in any sport, you should be concerned about global warming’s effect on sports and the role teams and leagues have in taking action to cut pollution.”
Highlights from the letters from the leagues released by the Task Force include:
• NBA: The National Basketball Association supports EPA “standards to reduce the carbon pollution from electric power plants.” The NBA also supports current action taken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to set more stringent fuel standards and additional clean energy research and development investment. See letter.
• NFL: The National Football League is engaged in a number of projects that help mitigate climate change and was “the first professional sports organization formally to assess the environmental impact of [its] marquee events.” The NFL measures the greenhouse gas impact of the Super Bowl and uses renewable energy offsets to green its power usage and mitigate team travel emissions. At last year’s Super Bowl, the NFL conducted solid waste management and recycling at all major Super Bowl facilities. See letter.
• NHL: The National Hockey League notes, “Hockey’s relationship with the environment is unique. Our sport was born on frozen ponds, where – to this day – players of all ages and skill levels learn to skate. For this magnificent tradition to continue, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of maintaining the environment.” The NHL’s member clubs have pursued a range of energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally friendly initiatives, including the installation of HVAC systems and on-site renewable energy. See letter.
• MLB: Major League Baseball “[recognizes its] responsibility to be part of the national effort to preserve our environment.” Multiple MLB stadiums have adopted solar panel systems (AT&T Park in San Francisco, Chase Field in Phoenix, Fenway Park in Boston) or wind turbines (Progressive Field in Cleveland) to generate energy with a lower carbon footprint. Since 2008, the purchase of certified renewable energy credits also helps offset the energy use of MLB All-Star Game events. See letter.
The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change is co-chaired by Reps. Henry A. Waxman, Bobby L. Rush, and Earl Blumenauer and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Ed Markey, and Ben Cardin. The purpose of the task force is to focus congressional and public attention on climate change and to develop effective policy responses to this urgent challenge.