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Beijing 2022 : How is it not sustainable?
As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are approaching, we are here to discuss the environmental controversy regarding this event.
“Carbon neutral Games”
The event is supposed to be carbon neutral, thanks to a carbon compensation of the activities. This is false, and makes no sense both physically and ecologically, as no vehicle is clean. Indeed, renewable energies are not clean. Nuclear energy is not clean. Some energies, however, are more emitting in their life cycle than others. If the Games were “carbon neutral”, this would not include the travel of spectators, which represents more than half of the emissions for this type of event.
These Olympic Games will be exceptionally without foreign spectators, but Chinese people will still attend. To make the carbon footprint of the Olympics even worse, China has chosen to build a ski area in the Songshan Nature Reserve in Yanqing. More than 20,000 trees have been cut down over the past few years on the equivalent of more than 1,000 soccer fields to install the Yanqing slopes, where the alpine skiing events will take place. And while the Beijing Olympic Committee has pledged to transplant the trees to another location on the mountain, the damage to biodiversity could be considerable.
The snow is 100% artificial. It is not a novelty that there is artificial snow: it was already the case for those of Lake Placid (USA) in 1980. However, 100% is a first. The environmental cost of these Games is indeed colossal: to remedy a climate refusing to bend to the agenda of the international sport and to whiten the 9,2 kilometers of tracks used for the competition, it was necessary to use 100 generators of snow and 300 guns. 185 million liters of water were necessary, that is to say the annual average consumption of a Chinese city of 12 000 inhabitants, that of 3 406 Frenchmen or the equivalent of 800 Olympic swimming pools according to a report of the NGO China Water Risk.
In addition, we should not forget the fate reserved for Uyghurs by the Chinese government as the Olympic Games have a high symbolic value and have always been instrumentalized by politicians.
Throwback on the COP26
The COP26 was one of the most important conferences of our generation. Here is a little sum-up of it and the progress that grew from it. Time to catch up!