Beijing's claims of a 'green' Olympics may not be valid
China's government promises that just about every aspect of the Olympics will be "green may not be true".
China's government promises that just about every aspect of the Olympics will be "green may not be true". China's effort to cast it as a global leader on sustainability and climate change, are difficult to square with the country's broader environmental challenges. Beijing's water scarcity is a concern for environmentalists, with one estimate suggesting it could take 200 years for water piped into the city to return water resources to 1998 levels, writes Christian Shepherd for the Washington Post.
China is also the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter and has avoided announcing a moratorium on coal-fired power. Even as Beijing organizers promise to buy purely renewable electricity for Games venues, the capital and surrounding Hebei province, where co-host Zhangjiakou is located, rely on fossil fuels for the bulk of their electricity. China consumes half the world's coal; output rose nearly 5 per cent to a record 4.07 billion tons last year as the government ordered more production to combat power shortages, as per the Washington Post.
That China's Games-specific pledges may ultimately fail to translate into progress on environmental causes fits with a habit of the Olympics disappointing on its goal to encourage sustainability, which became a pillar of the sporting movement in the 1990s. For the Chinese Communist Party, hosting the Olympics is an important source of international prestige that it is determined to stage-manage carefully. While 2008 was billed as China's arrival on the world stage, 2022 is a vehicle for Xi Jinping, the party's most powerful leader in decades, to burnish claims of superior governance.
Beijing will supposedly implement a strict "closed-loop" system to separate participants within a bubble and prevent coronavirus spread. A side-effect of the steadfast adherence to a "zero-covid" policy will be a reduced carbon footprint because of spectators being limited to a handful of approved Chinese residents. During the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing's smog, energy-intensive and water-depleting construction were subjects of widespread debate and scrutiny from Chinese and international groups. There have been few external assessments of sustainability for Beijing 2022, according to Washington Post. (ANI)
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