London Olympics Drops Carbon Offset Pledge
The London Olympicsâ pledge to offset its emissions was part of the bid that helped it beat off competition from eight other potential host cities.
But David Stubbs, the head of sustainability at the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), has said in an interview that offset projects would have taken place away from Britain.
âOfficially, if you want to go down certified carbon-offsetting all projects have to be overseas, so if we plant a lot of trees in [English county] Essex that just doesnât count,â Stubbs told Bloomberg. âBecause the Games are in the U.K., we wanted to maximize the Games locally. Doing formal offsetting would be diverting things,â he added.
The committee is now aiming to reduce some emissions at source, and instead of buying formal carbon credits, LOCOG has appointed BP Plcâs Target Neutral unit to offset the 34,000 tons of CO2 that travellers to the games are expected to generate. Target Neutral will also offset the emissions from 5,000 official Games vehicles, and will advise visitors on how to reduce their carbon footprint, Bloomberg reported.
âWe never said we would have a total offsetting program. Itâs a wider approach to compensate for residual emissions,â Stubbs said, according to Bloomberg.
LOCOG had estimated earlier that the construction of the Olympic site – Europeâs largest urban renewal project – the staging of the games and the transportation of staff, athletes and visitors would generate 3.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Bloomberg.
By eliminating the Games-wide offsetting, LOCOG may avoid costs of up to 2.7 million pounds ($4.4 million), Bloomberg estimated, using pricesÂ quoted by brokers MF Global.
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