The uncrowded Tokyo Olympics aims to be environmentally friendly

File Photo: On June 20, 2021, an electric car was photographed at the internal shuttle bus station of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Village. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon / File Photo

July 22, 2021

By Kanupriya Kapoor

Singapore (Reuters) – No fans. There is no snack stand. There are no tour bus or hotel reservations. For many, this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics may seem uninteresting. But for environmentalists, a simplified approach is exactly what is needed in a world facing climate change.

Initially, the Tokyo Organizing Committee predicted that the mega-event would emit approximately 2.73 million tonnes of global warming carbon dioxide. This is more than the amount reported by cities in Vancouver and Melbourne for overall 2019 emissions.

But if travelers don’t eat, live or entertain, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 12% to about 2.4 million tonnes of CO2, the organizers said in a sustainability report this month. I am.

The Commission hopes that the Games will be the most environmentally friendly in recent history, combined with reduction, reuse and recycling efforts.

“Tokyo’s carbon dioxide emissions would have increased significantly,” said John Calamicus, a sociologist at Queen’s University in Northern Ireland, who studied sustainability practices at the Olympics.

The organizer will announce the final emission figures after the competition.

Scientists say it is imperative that the world halve world emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. I think it is. The Tokyo Olympics are a reminder of these goals, with forecasters warning that summer temperatures are set above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) when the Games begin.

Tokyo’s decision to ban spectators aimed to minimize the risk of coronavirus, but Karamichas said he hopes the Olympics will set a minimalist precedent for future Olympics. I did.

“From an environmental point of view, there is a concept that small things are beautiful,” he said. “This is the direction we are heading.”

According to an analysis published in Nature Sustainability, researchers in April found that sustainability measures generally declined at the 16 Summer and Winter Olympics between 1992 and 2020. discovered.

Salt Lake City in 2002 was the highest, and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 and the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 were the lowest.

The authors suggested that reducing the Olympics and rotating them between the same cities could make the Olympics more sustainable.

Rio predicted that the 2016 event would generate 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. According to the organizers, at the London Olympics four years ago, the arena was sold out, and spectators accounted for one-third of the 3.3 million tonnes of CO2 emitted.

Paris in 2017 promised that the 2024 Games will have less than half the carbon dioxide emissions of London 2012.

Not only does Tokyo keep sports fans away, but it is also moving in the direction of reversing the upward trend in emissions.

The Olympic Village uses renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels. Electric cars travel between venues, and materials recycled from discarded electronics have been used to make the coveted medals.

In addition, the Tokyo Organizing Committee has obtained 5.1 million tonnes of CO2 worth of carbon credits from a cap-and-trade emission scheme that funds emissions reduction efforts for factories and public buildings in Tokyo and Saitama prefectures.

“The Games must be a space to promote decarbonization and sustainability,” said Masako Konishi, a conservationist at WWF Japan and a member of the Tokyo Olympics Sustainability Committee. I am.

“Otherwise we are just increasing the pressure on the planet.”

Graphics: Hot and humid Olympic summer

(Edited by Katy Daigle and Michael Perry)

The uncrowded Tokyo Olympics aims to be environmentally friendly

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