CO2 refrigeration systems are set to be fitted at the majority of ice venues during the Beijing 2022 winter Olympic Games in a move designed to decrease the event’s overall carbon footprint.

The decision has been announced by the Beijing 2022 organising committee as it joins the UN Sports for Climate Action framework, led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It will mark the first time the technology is used in China and at the Olympic Games.

The IOC said the initiative signifies a reduction of carbon emissions equal to the yearly footprint of almost 3,900 cars, with the carbon reduction similar to that of planting more than 1.2 million trees.

The project will see natural CO2 refrigerants, which have no impact on the environment, used in speed-skating, figure-skating and short-track venues at Beijing 2022. The systems will also be fitted at ice hockey training venues.

Beijing 2022’s decision to join the UN Sports Climate Action follows the launch of the framework in December 2018. Beijing 2022 joins almost 40 sports organisations to have signed up to the framework so far, with other signatories including the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 organising committees.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022, said: “This is a landmark decision which could potentially help address the issue of climate change, both in China and even globally. We are pleased to see that the IOC’s close collaboration with Beijing 2022 has resulted in such an important outcome.”

Image: IOC/Beijing 2022