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The Beijing Olympics are Environmentally Unfriendly

The Beijing Olympics are Environmentally Unfriendly

Raymond Zhong

If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics in Beijing, it’s hard to miss: Just beyond the white slopes for the ski and snowboard events lie brown hills barely touched by snow.

Machine-made snow is not new to professional winter sports, nor to the Olympics. However, my colleague Matt Futterman (and I) have shown. This week, I wroteIt is almost a requirement for the 2022 Games. China’s capital gets only dustings of natural snow most winters. And water supplies in the arid region have long struggled to keep up with the city’s demands, whether for snow-making or for anything else.

To be clear, Beijing is not going to run out of water. It is a large metropolis with over 20 million people. The city has made significant progress in conservation. The city has made strides in conservation. Heavy industry and agriculture have been shut down. (You may have seen the cooling towers at the Steelworks from the pastThese are the major air events. Trillions of gallons of water are being channeled to the region each year, via a colossal engineering project, from China’s humid south.

There are other cities that could have hosted this year’s Games and that wouldn’t have had to go to such lengths to make artificial snow. These cities are not. Dropped out of contentionThe reason was high costs and lackluster support back home.

Numbers:In 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available were not available. Beijing had roughly the same amount of freshwater per resident as Niger, a country near the Sahara.


As the Russian invasion of Ukraine grows, oil prices are rising. Europe is currently suffering from a severe natural gas shortage that has roiled the energy markets. Record highs have been set for coal demand, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

As I An article explains the process.The current turmoil in the global fossil fuel markets could make it more difficult to fight climate change, as was the case last week. This turmoil highlights a larger challenge: Even if countries invest in low-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar power it will still take a while before the world doesn’t have to worry about volatility on oil, gas, and coal markets. This can make it difficult to shift towards cleaner energy.

Quotable: “While today’s market fluctuations cannot be traced back to climate policies, that does not mean that the road to net zero emissions will be smooth,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.


There’s a lot of water locked up in glaciers, and it can be an indispensable resource to people living nearby. But, new research has shown that there may not be as much of it as we thought.

The study, which This week, I wrote about it, combined nearly a million pairs of satellite images to map the world’s 200,000-plus glaciers with new precision. The new paper, which was based on the scientific consensus, found that there was less of ice in certain areas, like the tropical Andes and more ice elsewhere, like in the Himalayas.

Further measurements at the site are needed to determine how much glacial waters have been removed. But one glaciologist, Regine Hock, told me that even as the data improves, the basic picture isn’t likely to change much: The glaciers are going to thin quite a bit this century, with consequences for communities all around the planet.

Numbers:The study showed that there was 11 percent less ice in glaciers worldwide than previously thought. However, it found 37% more ice at the Asia high mountains, while Patagonia and the central Andes had 10 percent less.


Is it possible for sustainability values to be preached while still being practiced? Promotion of consumption?


Psychologists suggested that a wide range would suffer from the disease ten years ago. Climate anxiety can cause grief and anxiety. Skepticism about this idea is gone.


Climate change and demographic challenges are threatening centuries-old cultural practices surrounding the cultivation of plants that unmistakably signify “climate change” Japanese cuisine.

As gripping tales go, it doesn’t get much better than the story of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to walk across Antarctica.

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It didn’t go as planned. His ship Endurance, which was carrying him, got stuck, crushed, and sunk in the Weddell sea in 1915. Shackleton and five members of his crew set out on 800-miles in an open lifeboat to call for help for the 22 other members of the group.

The story of leadership and survival has been told in books and films and in museum exhibitions, at least one of which, at the Museum of Natural History in New York City two decades ago, even featured Shackleton’s lifeboat.

Endurance, which lies at the bottom of Weddell, east coast of Antarctic Peninsula, in 10,000 feet of water, has been hidden from view for all these years. As I wrote in This month’s articleThis could soon change. A South African icebreaker is on its way to the site with a team consisting of scientists, technicians, and explorers.

The Endurance22 expedition, as it’s known, hopes to navigate through the Weddell’s notorious pack ice to the area where the ship went down and then launch a couple of autonomous submersibles to look for it. The submersibles will photograph the wreckage and make a survey of it, but they won’t touch it, since Endurance is a historic monument.

The expedition does not only look backwards. There are also ice scientists on board who will be sampling and analyzing the Weddell’s ice, looking for signs of how climate change may affect it in the future.

You can also follow the search on Website Endurance22.


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