The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Organising Committee has announced it will use special cooling technology at its venues, designed to reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
Natural CO2 refrigerants will be used in the speed skating, figure skating, short-track and ice hockey training venues. Refrigerant R449, a substance the IOC described as having “low Global Warming Potential”, will be used in the ice hockey and curling venues. It will be the first time these technologies are used in China or at the Olympic games. The IOC said the measures could reduce carbon emissions by more than 26 million kg, the yearly footprint of almost 3,900 cars.
The effort by Beijing 2022 to go green is timely, with recent studies reported by the BBC pinning the blame for rises in CFC-11 – an ozone-destroying chemical used for refrigeration systems and home insulation – on industrial activity in the eastern provinces of China.
In a statement on the IOC website, Juan Antonio Samaranch, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, said: “This is a landmark decision which could potentially help address the issue of climate change, both in China and even globally. We are pleased to see that the IOC’s close collaboration with Beijing 2022 has resulted in such an important outcome.”
Beijing 2022 has also announced that it has joined the UN Sports for Climate Action framework, the latest of almost 40 sports organisations to sign up. Other signatories include the Organising Committees for the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 summer Olympic Games.