Upcoming Asian Games to be carbon-neutral for the first time

Wu Huixin
Hangzhou has implemented measures to achieve the goal of zero carbon emissions during the games.
Wu Huixin

The 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 will be the first Asian Games aiming to achieve carbon neutrality in history, as Hangzhou has implemented measures to achieve the goal of zero carbon emission during the event.

"Reducing carbon emissions is paramount for carbon neutrality," said professor Gao Xiang, dean of Zhejiang University's Energy Engineering Department. "Construction, renovation and operation of large venues at past sporting events produced a great deal of carbon emissions."

In 2019, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced the Implementation Guidelines for Carbon Neutrality of Large-scale Activities, which provides official criterion for host cities across the country.

Early in 2018, the Hangzhou Asian Games organizing committee released Guidelines for Designing Green Buildings for Asian Games, specifying requirements for constructing and renovating large venues for the games.

The Hangzhou Asian Games Village is designated as a National Second-level Green Ecological Urban Zone, the first of its kind in Zhejiang Province. The village was recognized for a host of environmentally friendly facilities, including solar panels, efficient insulation, green spaces and rainwater recycling systems.

The power grid leverages big data technology to save energy, making it possible to provide electricity precisely and efficiently.

Last April, the organizing committee signed an agreement with Zhejiang Electric Power Trade Center and the State Grid Corporation of China to incorporate green power trading – exchanging photovoltaic and wind power through the local power trade center.

"Green power refers to the electricity generated by renewable energy sources. Using specific equipment, such as wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels, wind and solar energy is converted into electricity. The whole process rarely produces emissions harmful to the environment," said Gao.

Zhejiang's green power is primarily generated by photovoltaic power plants in the province and some renewable energy power plants in Sichuan Province and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

According to the agreement, all the games' venues and facilities are part of the package deal, covering all electricity consumption from June 2021 till the end of the event.

This approach is expected to provide nearly 595 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy for the games – equivalent to the amount of power generated by 73,100 tons of coal that would create more than 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition to green power, the organizing committee released the Guideline for Public Transportation in Asian Games, which aims to build a professional green logistics and public transportation team.

Upcoming Asian Games to be carbon-neutral for the first time

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium and Hangzhou Olympic Sports Tennis Center are hosting venues for the 19th Asian Games in September.

"I hope the organizing committee encourages people to take public transportation to the venues and use e-tickets and digital manuals to reduce garbage and recycle trash," said Gao.

According to the Implementation Guidelines for Carbon Neutrality of Large-scale Activities, organizers of large events must either purchase carbon quotas and credits or build carbon sinks through new forestry projects to offset resulting carbon emissions.

Gao suggests developing new forestry projects in impoverished areas and achieve common prosperity.

Over the past few years, Hangzhou government has organized departments, schools and companies to plant trees citywide.

"The Asian Games is a great opportunity to call for a green lifestyle among residents," said Gao.

When President Xi Jinping was Zhejiang's Party secretary in the early 2000s, he developed the concept that "clear waters and green mountains are as valuable as mountains of gold and silver" to reference a harmonious, symbiotic relationship between environmental protection and economic development.

Since then, Zhejiang has spared no expense to develop sustainable modes that boost people's wellbeing and preserve the environment.

"The Asian Games is an extraordinary chance for Zhejiang Province to explore innovative methods in the fields of sustainable development and carbon neutrality," said Gao.

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