The World Wild Fund for Nature is encouraging the 10,000 athletes that will compete at the 2008 Olympic Games of Beijing to offset their carbon dioxide emissions.
Each of all these athletes is due to emit an average of four tonnes of CO2 by flying to the host city. To what can be added the hundred thousands people that will come to support their countries.
All this will inject thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The WWF is teaming with other organizations to enable people to offset their emissions.
Offsetting emissions is a quite simple idea, you give money to a project that will enable to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, the amount emitted by your flight is “erased”. This is also called as being carbon neutral (see Wikipedia article via link below).
According to the WWF press release :
WWF is working with several offset organizations that will allow athletes, supporters, the media, and anyone else planning to travel to the Olympic Games to easily calculate their relevant CO2 emissions through a carbon calculator, and give ideas of where to donate to a number of recommended offset projects.
With a few clicks of the computer mouse, athletes can offset their emissions by supporting wind turbine projects in New Zealand, Alaska, Madagascar and Turkey; solar projects in the US, Eritrea and Costa Rica; or a biomass project in India. Many of the projects are Gold Standard-approved.
“It’s as simple as clicking a button on the web to add the environmental costs of your flight,” said Dermot O’Gorman, head of the WWF China.
“An average investment of around US$100 means a double win, as an immediate boost to some worthwhile projects and as a push to the clean energy market.”
To me this is a good idea, now it has to be followed by the maximum amounts of people that will fly to Beijing for the Olympics. I am sure that other initiatives will be launched by other NGOs with time.
However, I am quite amazed to note that no project involve the home country of the event. China indeed needs to decrease its carbon dioxide emissions and to switch to energy conservation and to cleaner energy sources.
China has recently become the first emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, the USA now coming second. Moreover, the People’s Republic is known for its very bad air quality, as this kills nearly 700,000 people per year.
This can be explained partly by the fact that Chinese main electricity source is coal, the ” dirtiest ” source of energy. This accounts for nearly two thirds of its electricity generation.
So, if you plan to go to Beijing for the Olympic Games, please think about climate change and making a gesture for Earth.
- Going for energy gold in Beijing (WWF page)
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