London Ditches Its Promise for a Green Olympics

When London was seeking the 2012 Olympics, they offered up a plan that would ensure an environmentally friendly world event. London promised to balance carbon emissions from the games with clean energy investments around the world. But man was that expensive. London organizers announced today that they were ditching the green promise, saying that they want to keep the focus on Britain, not the world.

The London Olympics website said:

Olympic organizers will “no longer pursue formal offsetting procedures”

David Stubbs, the head of sustainability at the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympics Games, or LOCOG, said:

“Officially, if you want to go down certified carbon- offsetting all projects have to be overseas, so if we plant a lot of trees in Essex that just doesn’t count. Because the Games are in the U.K., we wanted to maximize the Games locally. Doing formal offsetting would be diverting things.”

Bloomberg reports that more than 3.4 million metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions will be generated by the 2012 Olympic Games, from transporting athletes, to constructing facilities, to staging the event. By ditching its promise to offset those greenhouse-gas emissions, LOCOG will save an estimated $4.4 million.

Darren Johnson, a Green Party member of the London Assembly,was upset about the change of heart. Johnson said:

“Obviously we want the Olympics to benefit London, but environmentally they should be a green Olympics to benefit the whole world as well.”

LOCOG will still work to offset emissions, but they will not be able to completely offset the footprint left by the 2012 Olympic Games.

Adrian Bassett, a LOCOG spokesman, told Bloomberg:

“We did look at offsetting but as the program progressed and we better understood our carbon footprint, we felt our effort and resources should be focused on managing direct impacts within our control, avoiding and reducing emissions.”

Do you think the Olympic organizers lied about their green promise? Or were they really caught off guard by the size of the carbon footprint that would be left by the games?