Vancouver Vows Carbon Neutral Olympics

New York, USA (ENS) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games pledged Monday to minimize the environmental footprints of all events before, during and after the Games.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games has set a goal of holding a carbon-neutral events that will result in no net emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

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The Organizing Committee (VANOC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), signed a memo of understanding, MoU, at the United Nations headquarters in New York to work together to enhance environmental performance and increase public awareness of the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “Through the Olympic movement, we can further sustainable development by holding green Games and boosting global interest in the environment. UNEP welcomes VANOC’s goal of carbon neutral Games and is proud to be a partner is this important endeavor.”

UNEP may advise VANOC on environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, ozone-friendly chemicals, waste management and green procurement, Steiner said. UNEP and VANOC pledged to work together to inspire action on national and international environmental goals.

In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness that environmental and sustainability considerations should be at the heart of the Olympic project. All Olympic Games are now expected to leave a sustainable legacy and promote environmental awareness.

“We are delighted that UNEP and VANOC have been able to continue the great spirit of collaboration that has existed for several Games now by signing this MoU,” said Pal Schmitt, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Environment Commission.

“The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are making great strides in the field of sustainable development and this new relationship with the UNEP will undoubtedly provide further opportunities to inspire sustainable actions around the world.” “The Olympic and Paralympic Games represent a unique opportunity to produce lasting benefits, both locally and globally,” said VANOC chief executive John Furlong.

“Today, as we come together in a spirit of cooperation with UNEP, we are well on our way to fulfilling the goal of meeting our commitment of hosting sustainable Games, of raising awareness about the environment and inspiring greater commitment to environmental protection around the world.”

Under the MoU, VANOC will support and participate in World Environment Day and a global forum on sport and the environment.

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