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Paris Olympics 2024: Pioneering the Greenest Games in Olympic History.
Less than 200 days remain until the 2024 Paris Olympics, and the organizing committee is steadfast in its commitment to delivering an unprecedented level of sustainability at the Games, vowing to set new benchmarks in environmental consciousness.
Seven years ago, when Paris clinched the bid for the Games, they pledged an ambitious plan to substantially reduce carbon emissions compared to prior Olympic events in London and Rio. Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Olympics and a thrice Olympic canoeing champion, emphasized sustainability as a top priority for the French capital.
The Paris Games aim to produce an estimated 1.56 million tons of carbon emissions, a significant 55 percent reduction from the roughly 3.42 million tons generated during the Rio 2016 and London 2012 events. So, what progress has been made as the Games draw near?
Carbon Footprint: Paris has taken an unprecedented step by calculating emissions from policy decisions before implementation, dividing the Games’ carbon budget into three main categories: travel, construction, and operations. The use of existing infrastructure has notably curbed emissions, with only one major new legacy project, an aquatics center in Saint-Denis.
Public or shared transport is set to be used by 100 percent of spectators, while 85 percent of athletes will reside within a 30-minute travel radius of their venues. This starkly contrasts with past Games where costly venues turned into abandoned structures, termed “white elephants.”
Electricity and Waste: Efforts to transition Olympic sites to the national electricity grid, replacing diesel generation, are underway. The iconic Stade de France’s lighting, usually powered by oil-fired generators, will use biofuel as a last resort during the Games, potentially saving up to 13,000 tons of emissions.
Circular economics drive waste management, aiming to recover and repurpose a substantial portion of furniture and equipment used during the Games. Additionally, catering will focus on sourcing products locally, doubling the vegetarian options, and banning single-use plastics at the event.
Air Conditioning Innovation: The Athletes Village will rely on an innovative water-cooling system, mirroring technology used at the Louvre Museum, to mitigate heat without air conditioners. Despite concerns about potential heatwaves exceeding 40°C, organizers are dedicated to maintaining indoor temperatures between 23°C and 26°C.
Swimmable Seine: In preparation for the Olympic swimming marathon and triathlon events, Paris is tackling the challenge of making the Seine swimmable after a century. Building an underground basin aims to prevent sewage overflow into the river during storms, ensuring safe conditions for the events.
Paris’s commitment to sustainability for the 2024 Olympics encompasses innovative solutions and bold initiatives, setting a new standard for eco-consciousness in hosting major global events.