Tokyo: Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have gone for net-zero carbon emissions as one of the main concerns in this year’s showpiece event is to mitigate the impacts of high city temperatures on athletes, volunteers, and officials.
In parallel, organisers are also looking to reduce the footprint of the Games themselves and use their visibility to promote a more sustainable way of life. “Climate change affects everybody on this planet,” said Tokyo 2020 Senior Director for Sustainability Yuki Arata in a release. “As a major global event, the Olympic Games have a responsibility to reduce emissions and be a catalyst for sustainable development.”
Tokyo 2020 has also pledged net-zero carbon emissions, which many see as an opportunity to accelerate the city’s transition to a more sustainable future, as per Olympics.com. In a bid to source a maximum of Games electricity from renewable sources, biomass energy is being purchased directly from a plant in Kawasaki City, and solar power from Fukushima.
A hydrogen station in Harumi, where the Olympic Village is located, will power homes and cars alike. And where it has not been possible to procure renewable energy, Tokyo 2020 is using green power certificates to compensate for the use of non-renewable electricity.
To mitigate the effects of rising temperatures and protect athletes’ health, organisers in 2019 had already made the decision to move the marathon and race-walking events to Sapporo, where daytime temperatures are expected to be as much as five degrees centigrade cooler than in Tokyo.
Other impacted events have been scheduled for earlier in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid the mid-day heat.
The Tokyo 2020 carbon offsetting programme considers the full scope of direct and indirect emissions related to the Games, including the construction of venues and the transportation of athletes and officials.
Organisers will recalculate the Games’ carbon footprint when the event is over. However, they aim to compensate more than their remaining emissions.