Canada aiming for a green winter

Olympic OvalThe Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is the first to officially commit to applying environmental sustainability principles to the Games — from ground-level logistics to maintaining the towering ski slopes. It has assessed the unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions from all their operations leading up to, and for holding the international event. "We will hit a new environmental mark for Winter Games," says VANOC CEO John Furlong. "That includes systematically going after ways to reduce our [environmental] footprint from every angle and finding partners that are equally committed."

Offsetters Green Technology Inc., a Canadian-based carbon asset management company and supplier of carbon offsets, will offset up to 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. The company plans to partner with local clean-technology companies including Nexterra, Sempa Power, Lignol Innovations, Ballard Power and Powertech to create and verify the clean-tech offset projects.

The carbon offset portfolio will invest in clean technology projects that improve energy efficiency or produce renewable energy. Some of the proposed offset projects include fuel cell technology in transit buses, energy-efficiency systems, as well as biomass gasification and hydrogen fueling stations to reduce industrial use of gasoline and electricity.

The 2010 Winter Games’ footprint will be an estimated 110,000 tonnes of direct carbon emissions – all emissions that are directly attributable to the 2010 Winter Games like venue construction, facility heating, and athlete travel. The projects is aiming to reduce this amount and to offset an additional estimated 190,000 tons of indirect carbon emissions from the Olympic Games caused by activities such as air travel.

“The Green Games concept is increasingly a reality. Today, from the beginning of a city’s desire to stage an Olympic Games through to the long-term impact of those Games, environmental protection and, more importantly, sustainability are prime elements of Games planning and operations.” - Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee

David Suzuki - Meeting the Challenge reportAccording to the David Suzuki Foundation Report, the 2010 Winter Games will be one of the highest profile international events in the world, and with an effective climate change strategy the Games can significantly advance public understanding of global warming solutions. In the process, the Games will create legacies of improved public transportation, energy efficiency and renewable energy capacity, and galvanize collaborative action on climate change by athletes, sponsors, partners, employees, volunteers, and the general public.