Gold, Silver, Bronze… and Green?

27 November 2007

The carbon emissions from heating the Olympic swimming pool will be measured by the organising committee of the London 2012 Olympics in an attempt to fulfil the promise of the “One Planet Games”.


Such minutiae will form part of the plans to be detailed today when the organising committee announces its sustainability plan for the Games.


London 2012 aims to be the first major global sporting event to measure its entire carbon footprint, including the emissions caused by the construction of the Olympic Park and those from the flights carrying competitors, media and fans alike.


It went so far as to consider measuring the emissions from the global TV audience, but decided to draw the line against emissions that they were unable to calculate or influence.


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One significant element of the Games that should not add to the footprint will be the Olympic flame, which organisers are determined to make carbonneutral. No solution has yet been found for the problem, but bio-fuels are being considered as is the possibility of burning fuel made from waste.


A minor problem here is that some gases burn with a clear flame and an invisible Olympic flame would not be seen to be doing the job.


Sebastian Coe, chairman of London 2012, and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, will be among those announcing today what they hope will be seen as ground-breaking progress for the Olympic movement to bring it into line with international thinking on environmental sustainability.


The footprint will be a measured over the seven-year period starting from the winning of the bid in 2005 to the conclusion of the Games in 2012, and it will be a matter of public record. Next year, London 2012 will announce its first guestimate for the seven-year footprint and every subsequent year it will hope to bring that figure down as it gets increasingly green.


London 2012 will not yet give a target for its carbon footprint, though industry experts believe that anything below one million tonnes of carbon would be a success. The footprint for the whole of London last year, not including aviation, was 44 million tonnes.



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