As expected, International Olympic Committee members chose Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan to host the 2022 Winter Olympics at Friday’s IOC meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Environmental issues played a key role in the run-up to, and aftermath of the vote.
In a tighter-than-predicted 44-40 vote, Beijing defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan to become host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics. GreenSportsBlog, in a post on Thursday, favored Almaty’s bid from an environmental point of view, citing Beijing’s need to use only man made (and highly carbon-emissions intense) snow for all snow-related events.
The environment did seem to play a role in the vote–but perhaps tilting some in favor of the Beijing bid. According to Tom Phillips, writing from Beijing for The Guardian, “A key component of Beijing’s winning bid was its pledge to tackle the toxic air pollution that often enshrouds the city.” Xinhua, the official news agency of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, provided some detail on July 28: “In an effort to tackle air pollution [for the 2022 Winter Games], Beijing upgraded its coal-fired heating system in urban areas to natural gas heating system and closed down heavy-polluted plants. Neighboring city Tianjin and provinces including Hebei adopted similar measures to give Beijing a hand.”
Beijing delegation celebrates in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as it wins the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Also from Phillips Guardian piece, Beijing mayor, Wang Anshun, talked a strong green (Winter Olympics) game, saying that “huge steps had been taken since his city hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, with one million high-emissions vehicles forced from its roads.”
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