‘That is a pattern’: Climate change impacting Winter Olympics

Japan 2020

Gate flags bend in the wind after high winds caused a delay in the start of the mixed team parallel skiing event at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

BEIJING, China (KXAN) — Beijing is the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games – and climate studies show it could be the last.

A study from the University of Waterloo is projecting by 2050, the earth’s temperature will go up by four degrees. That doesn’t bode well considering for the first time, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics relied on fake snow for its mountain venues.

“That is a pattern. Pyeongchang needed 90 percent of fake snow, and Sochi in Russia, needed 80 percent of fake snow,” Robert Mace, a Texas State geography professor, explained.

Mace, who studies climate control, says he’s been eyeing the warming trend over the years — putting the host cities for the Winter games at risk.

“They’ll be places on the planet that will still be cold enough,” Mace said. “But to host a Winter Olympics, you’ve got to have plenty of infrastructure there, so it’ll be quite a struggle.”

Reports say China invested roughly $3 billion on venues for the Games this year and another $6 billion on projects like the bullet train and expressways for transportation.

Mace is hopeful by bringing awareness to what possibly lies ahead, we can all make a collective effort to make a difference.

“With the Paris Agreement, the annual meeting with countries comparing notes, there’s more awareness by both the public and companies,” he said.

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