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Wash Post declares AC-free goal of ‘greenest Olympics ever’ in Paris takes ‘a farcical turn’ as ‘portable air-conditioning units will be everywhere’ per athletes’ demands


Chico Harlan is The Washington Post’s global climate correspondent

Wash Post Excerpts: 

PARIS — For all the steps Paris organizers have taken to put on the greenest Olympics ever, their boldest measure — the one they’ve touted again and again — pertains to the dorms in the Athletes’ Village. The rooms don’t have air-conditioning. Because of other cooling measures, organizers have assured, the athletes won’t need it.

But in a farcical turn, when the Games start next month, an Olympic Village designed to showcase sustainability will be more of an energy hog than organizers had hoped.

That’s because portable air-conditioning units will be everywhere. Wheeled in. Shipped in. Ordered by visiting countries that want their athletes to sleep well and perform at the highest level — even if it means a larger carbon footprint. Some of those athletes are accustomed to temperatures cooler than what the dorms might have provided and raised concerns to their national Olympic committees. “It’s a high-performance environment,” said Strath Gordon, the chief of public affairs for the Olympic committee of Australia, one of the countries opting for the ACs. … The Washington Post sent inquiries to 20 of the largest competing nations. Among the eight that responded, all — including the United States — said they were planning to use portable ACs in some or all of their athletes’ rooms. Those countries — plus Greece, Denmark and Australia, which also responded to The Post — accounted for more than 3,000 athletes at the previous Olympics, in Tokyo, more than a quarter of the total. … Many other countries plan to obtain the ACs in France.

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