IOC raises its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 50% by 2030

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced its intention to reduce its “indirect greenhouse gas emissions” by 50% by 2030. The announcement was made by the IOC President. Thomas Bach during the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), which is currently taking place in Greece.

This is an increase in the organization’s previous commitment to reduce emissions by 45% in accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The announcement comes ahead of the opening of the United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow next week. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described four main areas of interest for the summit: coal, cars, cash and trees.

“The climate crisis is arguably the greatest challenge facing humanity,” said President Bach. “It affects all areas of our life, including sport of course, as an important part of society. By further reducing our carbon emissions, we are strengthening our contribution to the achievement of the Paris Agreement, tracking the latest scientific advances on climate change, and better contributing to this global effort. We urge all other sports organizations to follow suit.

As part of the IOC’s ambitious new plan, they have set a 30% reduction target by 2024, when the next Summer Olympics will be held in Paris, France.

The IOC has directly linked the impacts of climate change to sport, stressing that snow and unreliable temperatures are impacting winter sports, while increasing summer heat “threatens the health of athletes, organizers events and fans “.

The IOC announcement follows the release of the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the leading international climate change assessment body. Released in August 2021, the report found that human-induced climate change is intensifying at an unprecedented rate.

Based on the latest data from the IPCC report, all Framework signatories will be required to reduce their emissions by 50% by 2030, in order to help limit global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C above. above pre-industrial levels. Between 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius has been set as a target by most scientists as being necessary to tackle the worst impacts of climate change. The 2010s have already seen an increase of 1.09 ° C from pre-industrial levels, causing growing pessimism about whether it is possible to keep the number below 1.5 ° C.

Although the IOC itself does not have direct manufacturing, its programs and events generate a lot of emissions – through massive amounts of local and global transport and the construction of new venues. The IOC says it plans to offset more than the remaining 50% of its emissions through the Olympic Forest project, with plans to plant around 355,000 native trees in around 90 villages in Mali and Senegal – host of the 2026 Youth Olympic Games.

Other attack plans include the use of almost fully-built venues for the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

All the next Olympic Games are committed to carbon neutrality, Paris 2024 aiming to become the first climate-positive Games even before the 2030 deadline.

  • All Beijing 2022 Games competition venues aim to use 100% renewable energy. Natural and low carbon CO2 refrigeration systems will be used at most of the ice venues in Beijing 2022 – the first time this low climate impact technology will be used in China and at the Olympic Winter Games.
  • With 95% of pre-existing or temporary venues, among other measures to avoid and reduce carbon emissions, Paris 2024’s carbon footprint is expected to be half the carbon footprint of previous Summer Olympics. Paris 2024 will also offset more than 100% of its residual emissions and use its influence to develop long-term carbon offset projects, thus becoming the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in the world to have a positive contribution to the climate.
  • LA28 has taken a radical reuse approach, which means that it will take advantage of the best of Los Angeles’ iconic sports facilities and will not require the construction of a single new permanent site. LA28 is committed to incorporating meaningful sustainability measures into all of its plans, as it aims to set a new standard for large-scale live events.

The IOC is also committed to making all the Olympic Games “climate-friendly” from 2030. Each Olympic Games organizing committee will be contractually bound to minimize and offset its direct and indirect carbon emissions; and implement sustainable zero-carbon solutions for the Olympics and beyond, although there remains skepticism whether, when things do, the IOC will have the teeth to remove obligations to host cities and towns. countries that do not adhere to these conditions.


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