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27 March 2018

China is creating a low-carbon pilot city for the 2022 Winter Olympics

Asia, Sport

The Chinese government has recently unveiled further plans to make Beijing one of the most sustainable Winter Olympics in history.

"Our Organizing Committee has fully integrated the concept of sustainable development into all aspects and processes of the preparations", said Chu Bo, Director of Policy at the State General Administration of Sport.

He was speaking at the recent EU Sport Forum in Bulgaria where China has been presenting its ambitious goals for the games, having been handed the Olympic torch from South Korea’s Pyeongchang last month.

Beijing’s plans include creating a ‘pilot city’ to showcase the low-carbon transition at Zhangjiakou, which is co-hosting the games in nearby Hebei Province.

To achieve this, the government has recently signed a co-operation agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The deal will help with the establishment of a ‘low-carbon Olympic zone’ in Zhangjiakou where both the Olympic centre and stadiums will be powered by renewables. The city also has a goal of generating 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

"The pursuit of a low-carbon Winter Olympics in 2022 will not only support China’s ambition to lower harmful emissions, but it will also see them pioneer a movement towards the cost-effective decarbonisation of the world’s greatest spectacles”, said IRENA’s Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin upon signing the agreement.

A recurring criticism of the Olympic Games is the huge amount of building work and construction with little use after the event is over. Beijing will, however, make use of existing stadiums to reduce environmental impact. In the capital city, 11 of 13 venues to be used in 2022 were in existence when China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. The iconic Bird’s Nest stadium will also be used for the opening and closing ceremonies in 2022.

“We intend to host our games in an economical way, making full use of the existing venues, and leaving exemplary sustainable legacies after 2022, similarly as we had managed after 2008”, added Mr. Chu. 

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