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Creating a Climate-Friendly Olympic Games

May 23, 2024 | Sports
A globe with the olympic logo on it

Source Summary

The Summer Olympics are right around the corner, and with them, the looming carbon footprint of international flights for 10,000 athletes and their fans convening in and around Paris for the Games. But the IOC has been hard at work in the sustainability gym, building carbon-reduction muscles that may help it trim millions of kilograms of CO2 from its personal best. One is through the Olympics’ transportation partner, Toyota, which has pledged to cut vehicle carbon emissions in half compared to previous years. Over 50% of Toyota’s Olympic fleet will be sourced from Europe, and many of their vehicles will emit zero tailpipe emissions. Extending beyond transportation, the Olympic Aquatic Centre features a solar roof that covers 25% of the facility’s energy needs, and a system that upcycles 50% of water consumption. Similar energy-efficient technologies were used to design the Seine Saint-Denis Olympic Village.


The concerted effort to host a climate-friendly Olympic Games is a bold endeavor. Over the years, venues and sporting events across the world have made changes to become more environmentally friendly—for instance, since 2021 Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle has used 100% renewable energy—but never on this grand of a scale. While the initiative will help reduce the impact the Games have on the environment, it won’t be able to address one of the largest culprits of carbon emissions; transportation. The Paris tourism board estimates that almost 16 million people could visit the City of Lights between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a large portion of whom will travel via plane or car. The initiative is a step in the right direction, but until there is an end-to-end climate-friendly system for large events like the Olympics, it’s likely that they’ll always be a net negative for our environment.