IOC Commits to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Half by 2030

It comes as the UN Climate Summit, COP26, takes place in Glasgow. The International Olympic Committee claims a firm commitment to tackling climate change as snowsports is threatened.

“The climate crisis is arguably the biggest challenge humanity is facing,” said IOC President, Thomas Bach.

“It is affecting all areas of our lives, including sport of course, as an important part of society.

“By further reducing our carbon emissions, we strengthen our contribution to the realisation of the Paris Agreement, follow the latest science on climate change, and contribute better to this global effort.

“We urge all other sports organisations to follow suit.”

In order to achieve the 50% cut in emissions by 2030, the IOC has set an intermediate reduction target of 30% to be achieved by 2024.

Its action plan to deliver on this commitment will now be updated with increased efforts to reduce emissions in the areas of travel, energy use and procurement.

Some though feel the 50% reduction is not enough.

Scientists believe that human-induced climate change is intensifying at an unprecedented pace.

The Winter Olympics and other international snowsports events are under threat.

A recent study says that only 10 of 19 former Winter Olympics locations would be able to stage reliable winter sports events by 2050 and just six by 2080.

The conclusion comes in Playing Against The Clock: Global Sport, the Climate Emergency and The Case For Rapid Change.

It’s been written by the journalist, author and academic, David Goldblatt, for the Rapid Transition Alliance.

He’s calling for swift action from individual sports and major organisations.

Climate report claims many past host cities could not host event in 30 years time

Norway at 2019 World Championships, Seefeld. Image © PlanetSKI

2019 World Championships, Seefeld. Image © PlanetSKI

Climate change is already have an impact on snowsports with melting glaciers, plus unreliable snow cover and temperatures.

Mont Fort glacier, Switzerland

Mont Fort glacier, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

In 2018, working with UN Climate Change, the IOC helped develop the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework – which aims to drive climate action across the sports world.

More than 270 sports organisations from around the world have signed up to it so far.

All signatories to the Framework will be required to reduce their emissions by 50% in an attempt to help limit global temperature rise to 1.5˚C.

The IOC is already carbon neutral and aims to become climate positive by 2024.

This will be achieved by:

  • Reducing the IOC’s direct and indirect emissions by 50% by 2030, across the three scopes defined by the GHG Protocol, in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Compensating more than 100% of its remaining emissions, mainly through the Olympic Forest project.
  • Using its influence to encourage the broader Olympic Movement, as well as its supply chain and other stakeholders, to take action against climate change, and make the sports world more sustainable.

In March 2020 the IOC took the decision to make the Olympic Games climate positive.

From 2030 onwards, each Organising Committee for the Olympic Games will be contractually obliged to:

  • Minimise and compensate its direct and indirect carbon emissions.
  • Implement lasting zero-carbon solutions for the Olympic Games and beyond.

It is under 100 days to the Beijing Winter Olympics.

All competition venues at the Beijing 2022 Games aim to use 100% renewable energy.

Natural and low carbon emission CO2 refrigeration systems will be used at most of the Beijing 2022 ice venues – the first time this low climate impact technology will be used in China and at the Olympic Winter Games.

The IOC has also co-initiated, together with the United Nations, the Sports for Climate Action Framework.

All upcoming Olympic Games have committed to carbon neutrality, with Paris 2024 aiming to become the first climate-positive Games even before the 2030 deadline.

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022. Image c/o IOC.

In a video released as COP26 started Olympians and Paralympians called on world leaders to work together to fight climate change.

The video was  produced with support from the International Olympic Committee.

Athletes who participated at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are calling on world leaders to deliver on climate action:

Image © PlanetSKI