Winter Olympics In A Climate Crisis
Can the Winter Olympics survive the climate crisis? The Beijing games is the first to rely on 100% artificial snow. Researchers say that global heating trends will make the event unviable at all but one former host venue by 2100.
Stuart Braun w/Sam Baker and Tamsin Walker, February 1, 2022 (DW)
“The downhill skiing and snowboarding portions of the Winter Olympic Games begin on February 4…[and] will rely for the first time on 100% artificial snow…The cannons used to produce the snow are not only energy-intensive, but are fed with water from over 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) away…[Preparation of what have been called ‘the most unsustainable games of all time” required near 10 million tonnes of CO2…[Wind turbines and solar farms have been built at the sites and] there is a strong reliance on carbon offsets to square the emissions ledger….
…[The energy-intensive] pumping of water uphill to make snow in the arid region has not been included in the climate neutrality calculations…The high winds that blow up dust in the dry region, and which settles on the snow, means that double the artificial snow is required than would be produced in European Alps…[Most potential European or North American venues are] no longer bidding for the games due to cost and environmental impacts…
Even if the snow-making machines are to be run on renewable energy, a new study shows that failure to dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions may mean only one of the 21 previous Winter Olympics host cities can provide ‘fair and safe conditions’ for the games by 2100…By contrast, if the Paris Climate Agreement emission targets are met, the number of climate-reliable host cities rises to eight…” click here for more