City hall, decorated for the big event. Photo Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Environment France17. April 2024

2024 Olympics: a Green Model for the Future of Sports?

For the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris, France, the organizers are looking to cut down by more than half the greenhouse gas emissions generated in recent Olympics, thus offering a template for future sporting events.

“We set for ourselves ambitions that have never been set for any event before, let alone have this scale,” states Georgina Grenon, the person in charge of the games’ environmental efforts. The Summer Olympics will attract 10,500 athletes and some 15 million spectators.

The guest menus will be less polluting to grow and cook, solar panels will float on the Seine, and repurposing many existing attractions like the Grand Palais, the Place de la Concorde, and the Georges Vallerey swimming pool built for the 1924 Summer Olympics. In prevision of the summer event, Paris has been imposing sustainability measures like cutting down space for cars and creating more for bikes – since 2014, some 600 km of bike lanes have been added to the cycling network – and the planting of 9,000 trees, including local varieties like oaks and elms. Among the few new constructions is the athlete’s village complex, built with more wood and less cement, solar panels and greenery on its roofs, and a cooling system that uses water pulled from underground. The 52-hectare complex will then morph into a mixed neighbourhood for 6,000 residents. New structures are meant to have a life beyond the Olympics, with 95% being temporary – to be removed and re-installed in impoverished communities – so residents can use them for decades. Paris is imposing a limit on the total emissions it will produce, which is no more than half the greenhouse gas emissions of the 2012 London Summer Olympics. All those measures are meant to show that remaking an old city for a new global climate is possible.

The New York Times

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