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Sochi organizers claim 2014 Winter Olympics will be carbon neutral

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The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee announced yesterday that it exceeded its 2007 Bid Book target of mitigating 360,000 tons of CO2 equivalent and that the 2014 Winter Olympics will be carbon neutral. No details were released as to how Sochi 2014 met its carbon targets.

By implementing energy efficient technologies, Sochi organizers claim that more than 500,000 tons of greenhouse gases have been mitigated making Sochi the first carbon neutral Olympic Games. Ever.

The organizing committee had previously announced that through its corporate partners Sochi 2014 will offset travel-related greenhouse gas emissions of spectators and media representatives, estimated to be 160,000 MT of CO2 equivalent emissions.

The travel offsets include the retirement of carbon credits from the hosts of the next three Olympic Games — Russia, Brazil and South Korea.

The energy-efficient projects for Sochi 2014 targeted upgrades in building infrastructure, optimization of farming practices and enhancements on industrial processes.

More than 100 environmental measures have been undertaken to address the four key components of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee Environmental Strategy. Along with being carbon neutral, Sochi 2014 strives to implement a zero waste principle, limit the impact of the games on the natural environment and raise environmental awareness.

The recently released Sochi 2014 Legacy Report lists work done with regards to waste management systems and toward energy and utilities infrastructure as "tangible" while sustainable development practices and the reduction of the carbon footprint are listed as "intangibles."

Emissions from the capital construction projects for the $51 billion Games are not believed to be included in the metrics used to determine Sochi's carbon footprint.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), having signed a Memorandum of Understanding with game organizers in 2009 will act as an independent observer on the the Sochi 2014 environmental strategy. UNEP will publish a review of the preparations for the Sochi 2014 Games in 2016.

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