No sport can escape the impacts of a changing climate. Less snow and ice, higher temperatures, and extreme weather events such as storms and heatwaves, all affect competitors and spectators alike.
“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, affecting sport alongside so many other human activities,” says Marie Sallois, IOC Director for Corporate and Sustainable Development.
“Sporting events must constantly adapt to the impacts of climate disruption, and the Olympic Games are no exception. As a global event with a huge visibility, the Games also carry the responsibility to take effective action to address it.”
Committed to a more sustainable future, the Olympic Movement has already taken significant steps to reduce its own footprint and contribute to a climate-friendly society. Both Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 are aiming to be carbon neutral.
In parallel to actively addressing climate change and compensating carbon emissions, the Games are also adapting to the effects of a changing climate.
With temperatures rising around the world including in Tokyo, organizers are keen to minimize the heat impacts on athletes to protect their health as they compete.
Athletes will have access to additional shaded space, and the new Olympic Stadium has been designed to let in as much wind as possible and allow the maximum circulation of air.
The venue provides natural cooling, using giant eaves inspired by traditional Japanese architecture.
Short-term adaptation, however, is no substitute for long-term climate action. As part of its bid to host the Olympic Games, one of the three pillars of Tokyo 2020’s sustainability strategy was to achieve “carbon-neutral Games by reducing energy and resource consumption and carbon emissions, using renewable energy, public transport, and low-energy vehicles, and zero-waste policies.”
Many residents are now looking to Tokyo 2020’s pledge of net zero carbon emissions as an opportunity to accelerate the city’s transition to a more sustainable future.