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Climate Change: ‘Altering The Geography’ of Winter Olympics, Hosting Cities May Dwindle

Climate Change: ‘Altering The Geography’ of Winter Olympics, Hosting Cities May Dwindle

Beijing Olympics

A new study warns the world that there are many cities that could be host cities for the Winter, as the world continues to learn more about the devastating effects of climate change. OlympicsOne of the casualties could be you.

If countries don’t drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, only 21 of the 21 cities that hosted the Winter Games in the past will be able “reliably provide fair, safe conditions for snow sports program” by the end of this century. StudyCanada’s University of Waterloo led the initiative. If countries meet the Paris climate accord emission targets, eight cities would be able “climate reliable,” while six cities are projected as unreliable.

Robert Steiger, from the University of Innsbruck in Austria, stated that climate change is changing the geography of the Winter Olympic Games. “Unfortunately, some host cities that are well-known for winter sport will be gone.” “Most host cities in Europe are projected not to be reliable or marginal as early as 2050s even in a low emission future.”

Siyao Ma of the University of Arkansas stated that choosing a place that can provide satisfactory conditions despite rising temperatures might prove difficult in the future.

Ma stated, “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will face increasingly difficult decisions regarding where to award the games. But the world’s top athletes, who have dedicated themselves to sports, deserve to see the Olympics in places that can reliably provide safe and fair competitions.”

Researchers from Canada, Austria, and the U.S. participated in the study. It examined climate data from the 1920s to the present. It also considered possible climate change scenarios for 2050s, 2080s.

Athletes and coaches from all over the world were also surveyed about how climate change is affecting their sport and how it might affect them in the future. According to the study, 89 percent of those surveyed felt that climate change was affecting competition conditions and 94 percent said that they fear that changing weather patterns will impact their sport’s future development.

“We wanted to understand the athlete’s perspective on what climate and snow conditions made competition fair, safe, and then determine which Olympic host could provide those conditions in future,” Natalie Knowles, a former Canadian skier and Ph.D student, said.

Last year was the Sixth hottest year in recorded historical recordsThree U.S. scientific agencies and some scientists believe that rising temperatures are accelerating.

Beijing Olympics
According to a University of Waterloo study, climate change will limit the location of the Winter Olympics. Above, Beijing Olympic Tower. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will open in February.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

According to Reuters, 195 countries agreed in 2015 to limit global temperature rise to below 3.6°F (or 2°C) when the Paris Agreement was signed. They also aimed for a more ambitious goal of 1.5 C.

Leaders of the Group of Twenty nations reiterated their commitment to the agreement and the 1.5-C goal at last year’s climate conference. The New York Times reported.

“We remain committed to the Paris Agreement goal to hold the global average temperature increase well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, also as a means to enable the achievement of the 2030 Agenda,” the leaders said in a statement.

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The average February daytime temperature in Winter Olympics host cities has seen an increase in temperatures. It has gone “from 0.4°C at the Games held in the 1920s to the 1950s, to 3.1°C at Games during the 1960s to 1990s, and 6.3°C in Games held in the twenty-first century (including the Beijing Games),” a press release about the study said.

“Additional 21st-century warming of 2°C to 4.4°C is projected depending on our emission pathways,” the release added.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), has acknowledged the potential impacts of rising temperatures on its Winter Games. It announced last year that it would increase its carbon emissions reduction goals in line with the Paris Agreement.

The announcement stated that the climate crisis was “arguably the greatest challenge humanity is facing.” “It is affecting every area of our lives, even sport as an important part. We can contribute more to the realization and advancement of the Paris Agreement by further reducing carbon emissions.

Professor of geography and environmental management at University of Waterloo Daniel Scott said that sports could help to drive global warming reduction efforts. He stated that athletes want to play a bigger role in the solution.

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