London Olympics Generated 28% Less CO2e Than Forecast

by | Dec 12, 2012

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The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games’ operations generated 311,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, 28 percent less than was forecast, thanks to energy savings in transportation, venues, IT services and the supply and use of materials, according to a report by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games.

Organizers promised during their bid to the International Olympic Committee for the 2012 Games to deliver the most sustainable Olympics ever. A report released in November by independent watchdog group Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 concluded the Games broadly delivered on its sustainability objectives and would meet its targets to send zero waste to landfill and ensure 70 percent of waste is reused, recycled or composted. A final report by the commission is expected next year.

This latest LOGOC report, “London 2012 Post-Games Sustainability Report: A Legacy of Change,” said energy use at venues was 31,000 mt CO2e lower than expected, exceeding the 6,000 mt CO2e savings target set in lieu of the use of on-site renewable energy. One way the target was achieved was by renting temporary seating and other infrastructure rather than buying new, reported Reuters.

Smaller savings were realized in other areas, such as transport services. LOGOC said those savings may have occurred because many officials, media and teams opted to use existing public transport services instead of the special transport services offered to them.

But the carbon footprint of spectators – not included in LOCOG’s operational footprint – was 913,000 mt CO2e, 36 percent higher than expected. The increase was mainly due to the impact of travel, as well as revised estimated for accommodations, catering, merchandise and waste, the report said.

More than 11 million spectators attended the games along with a workforce of around 200,000, and tens of thousands of athletes, officials and dignitaries, the report said.

The overall carbon footprint of the games was 3.3 million mt CO2e, a figure that accounts for all construction work, all new transport infrastructure – which was primarily rail extensions – the impact of the spectators and the staging of the games themselves, according to the report.

The carbon footprint was slightly lower than the 3.4 million mt CO2e estimated in 2009, reported Reuters.

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