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Sir Rols

Climate Change and Hosting the Games

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Interesting article for debate. better start revisiting all those lists of "the next 100 years of host cities".

 

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How climate change may affect future Olympic Games

Rising temperatures and humidity caused by climate change will make it increasingly difficult to find cities eligible to host the Olympics Summer Games, according to a new study encompassing the broader implications of climate change on the Olympics.

By 2085, only 25 European cities and eight non-European cities will be low-risk enough to host the games, according to a commentary co-authored by UC Berkeley public health professors John Balmes and Kirk Smith, Alistair Woodward of the University of Auckland, and Cindy Chang, the physician in charge of UC Berkeley’s athletic teams and the chief medical officer for Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics published last week in the journal The Lancet.

“If you’re going to be spending billions of dollars to host an event, you’re going to want have a level of certainty that you’re not going to have to cancel it at the last minute,” Professor Smith said in a statement.

The researchers drew their conclusions from data compiled for a broader, yet-to-be-published study on climate change. 

The researchers only looked at cities that followed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) current guidelines, meaning that cities located more than 1 mile above sea level or with less than 600,000 people were not considered in their research. The climate side of their data was based on two climate change models and cities’ WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), a calculation that factors in temperature, humidity, heat radiation, cloud cover, and wind speed.

In Europe, the researchers found that 25 citieswould still be a low enough climate risk in 2085 to be considered for the Summer Games, but that Istanbul, Madrid, Rome, Paris, and Budapest would not be among them. Tokyo, which will host the games in 2020, will likely not be able to do so again due to climate change.

Beyond Europe the northern cities of  St. Petersburg, Russia; Riga, Latvia; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which may seem more suited to host Winter Games would also be eligible in 2085.

While the study looked at only the Northern Hemisphere, as nearly 90 percent of the world’s population resides above the equator, the Southern Hemisphere is expected to suffer even more from the effects of climate change. The wealthier north has contributed more significantly to climates change through disproportionate overuse of resources, particularly fossil fuels, whereas the poorer global south has seen the effects such as increasingly extreme weather patterns.

Rio actually highlighted this fact during its opening ceremony. Taking a break from displays of nationalism and celebration, the Olympic planners played a video highlighting not only the problem of climate change and global warming, but calling out countries that bear the brunt of the responsibility and highlighting others that have been disproportionately affected.

The message was particularly poignant coming from a nation like Brazil, where rainforests have been ravaged by deforestation and frequent storms have affected the already poor water quality.

The Winter Games are facing similar problems. According to data found by a similar study, by 2080 it is possible that as many as half of the last 20 winter Olympics host cities will be too warm, or no longer produce enough snow, to be eligible again.

“Climate change is going to force us to change our behavior from the way things have always been done,” Smith said in a statement. “This includes sending your kids outside to play soccer or going out for a jog. It is a substantially changing world. If the world’s most elite athletes need to be protected from climate change, what about the rest of us?”

Christian Science Monitor

 

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Don't be silly. Donald Trump says Global Warming is a scam and I'm sure he's right.

On the slight chance he's wrong, as global temperatures rise, won't the Olympic standards for hosting also rise?

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I Wanna see that list of 25 European and 8 non-European cities. I'm guessing Amsterdam better get in quick.

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I would like to know the reasons for this, rising temperatures, rising sea level or what? Even now I feel the IOC:s insistince on a strict July-August timeframe is somewhat limiting. Even Tokyo with its monsoon rains and sticky humid heat is far from ideal in hosting at that period. The most limiting aspects are set by the IOC itself. They really need to start downsizing the games. Instead of adding new sports reduce the amount of them to 15-20 core sports with a few rotating/changing options depending on the preferences of the host country and less strict venue requirements. That way they could make smaller cities interested again.

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1 hour ago, reindeer said:

I would like to know the reasons for this, rising temperatures, rising sea level or what? Even now I feel the IOC:s insistince on a strict July-August timeframe is somewhat limiting. Even Tokyo with its monsoon rains and sticky humid heat is far from ideal in hosting at that period. The most limiting aspects are set by the IOC itself. They really need to start downsizing the games. Instead of adding new sports reduce the amount of them to 15-20 core sports with a few rotating/changing options depending on the preferences of the host country and less strict venue requirements. That way they could make smaller cities interested again.

I tried to find it more about the study, even tried to read the original on Lancet, but didn't want to register for Lancet just to view it.

I assume they are talking merely about temperatures and sun radiation. You'd think they'd also account sea levels (and at the type of temps that would make a Paris or Budapest unviable you'd assume significant sea level rise) but that doesn't seem to be mentioned at all - indeed, after my joke above about Amsterdam, for example, it's included here as a low-risk host. Those dykes better hold! 

Other points to consider:

What global warming model are they using? And how drastic or reliable is that model compared to others around?

They seem to set a low population bar (600,000) as their criteria for a potential host city. But as we know all too well, that would be pretty unviable (without such major changes to the size of the games as you mention above). Could we really envisage Krasnoyarsk 2088 or Coventry 2092 as likely future hosts, shrinking pool of potential hosts or not.

They seem to put a summer mean of plus 26C or plus 28C as the dividing points that make potential hosts medium or high risks. But what does that say about cities that have already hosted in rather hot conditions (I'm thinking Atlanta or Barcelona. Even Rio's expecting 30C later today).

The study appears limited to the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, you might envisage that if it's using the IOC's July-Aug hosting window as its base line, then actually more Southern Hemisphere cities would be ideal within that timing window - the Melbournes, Capetowns, Buenos Aires and Punta Arenas' of the world become viable alternatives during the northern summer again (the sunny side of global warming and IOC scheduling).

At the end of the day it's an intriguing conversation starter. Right up our alley. But not sure if I'd attach too much credence to it as a forecasting tool (for either the extent/impact of global warming or for picking Olympic host cities 60 years out). 

 

 

Edited by Sir Rols

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