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Officials are facing a daunting challenge ahead of the Paris Olympics: 'It's a big test'

"We have solutions."

"We have solutions."

Photo Credit: iStock

The Olympics are taking place this summer in Paris, and Olympic-sized efforts are being made to make the 2024 version a climate-friendly template for future Games.

Paris organizers want to generate half the total planet-warming gases of the 2012 London Games, and they're approaching this goal from several angles, according to the New York Times. 

Paris' government underwent a $1.5 billion effort to clean up the Seine River, a primary key to winning the bid to host. A clean Seine would greatly benefit the fish population in the river and give locals a way to cool off during hot summers, something that hasn't been an option in over 100 years. 

Paris reached a record 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit in 2019, prompting city officials to create misting towers and plant thousands of new trees to help cool the summer air.

About 95% of the buildings for the Paris Games either already exist or will be temporary, which will help the significant amount of global carbon pollution from buildings. The same swimming venue from the 1924 Paris Games will be used, where Johnny Weissmuller, better known as the original Tarzan, won three gold medals in swimming.

The Aquatics Centre, built with recycled and bio-based materials and powered by solar farms on the roof, is the only new venue for the 2024 Olympics. 

More bike lanes have been constructed to reduce the number of cars and trucks on the road during the Games, with city officials urging more public transportation use. Road transport from cars and trucks accounts for 15% of all planet-warming pollution globally, as noted by Our World in Data. 

"We have solutions. We are preparing…it's a big test," said Dan Lert, deputy mayor.

The previous two summer olympics were a carbon pollution nightmare, according to EarthDay.org. The Tokyo Games released more than 2.7 million tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, while the Rio Games in Brazil nearly doubled that figure at 4.5 million tons.

Even the Winter Olympics are facing new challenges caused by our overheating planet. 

For example, the 2022 Beijing Games needed nearly 100% artificial snow. Reuters recently reported that if nothing changes, only 10 venues will have the "climate suitability" to serve as hosts by 2050.

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