Azara Blog: London Olympics still claiming they will have a low carbon footprint

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Date published: 2007/11/26

The BBC says:

A low-carbon Olympic flame will light up the 2012 Games provided a way can be found for it to be bright enough.

A carbon-neutral flame is difficult to see so Olympic organisers are looking for a suitable bio-fuel.

It is part of many measures announced by London 2012 organisers aimed at making the event the greenest ever.

It includes a carbon footprint study, a sustainable food strategy and a pledge to ensure no waste is sent to landfill during the Games.
...
The London Organising Committee (LOC) and EDF Energy have begun to search for a suitable bio-fuel for the flame, due to stand outside the stadium in Stratford.
...
Gareth Wynn, of EDF Energy, said that the low carbon flame "will definitely happen".

One possible answer is a bio gas, perhaps methane, using an organic material such as tree cuttings, he suggested.

One of the big PR exercises for the Olympic games. And unfortunately most biofuels are not carbon-neutral, indeed some produce more carbon than they save, when you consider the end-to-end account. Perhaps tree cuttings are one of the better biofuels. This is assuming that those tree cuttings are not already being used by someone else (otherwise the Olympics are just using their infinite budget to displace carbon from their balance sheet to someone else's). And it is assuming that they don't produce more carbon processing and transporting the tree cuttings than they end up saving from just using some other source for the flame.

Of course the big problem with this PR exercise is that there is no way the Olympics can even come close to being carbon neutral. Zillions of rich people and thousands of atheletes are flying in from all over the world, and will consume vast quantity of the earth's resources while they are in London, all part of the spectacle. Not to mention the huge amount of marketing, security and other resources expended on the show (which all comes down to consumption of energy in the end). Not to mention the extravagent construction of athletics facilities and stadia, many of which will not prove viable in the long run. The Olympics may be great for sport (and even that is a dubious proposition) but it is not "green" by any stretch of the imagination.

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