Earth Chat

Hottest Olympics, World Records, Climate Emergency “No Medal for Hong Kong’s Climate Race”




 

Tokyo Olympics—despite the one-year postponement, with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic still persisting, most critics were concerned if the event organiser can effectively control the disease and manage the games at the same time. But it seems that both the critics and the organisers have overlooked the bigger threat: the heatwave.

For more than two weeks, athletes struggled against both their competition and the threat of heat stroke. Several triathlon athletes collapsed after the race, including the gold winner Kristian Blummenfelt. Russian archer Svetlana Gomboeva had to be treated for heat exhaustion, and at least two tennis players retired mid-match due to the heat.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is set to break the record for being the hottest Olympics1. In fact, most cities will be too hot to host the Summer Olympics after 2085 due to climate change2.

Climate change, the unneeded record breaker

Tokyo is not the only place affected by climate change. With heat waves sweeping across the globe, numerous high temperature records were broken in many regions.

Moscow and St. Petersburg both recorded their highest June temperatures3, with the record-breaking heat wave and drought causing unprecedented wildfires in the Siberian taiga forests.4 Greece has its 30-year record smashed as the European Union sends firefighters and equipment to combat the ongoing wildfires.5

In other extreme events, Henan was hit by severe floods last month as it experienced an entire year’s worth of rain in just three days6, displacing more than a million people.7 Several European countries were flooded as well around the same time as they saw rainfall records being broken.8

Twenty world records may have been broken in Tokyo9, but climate change alone has by far and large shattered the most records and will continue without global intervention.

Hong Kong losing at the starting line

Although Hong Kong is one of the founding members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the city has consistently lagged behind its peers in its climate ambitions.

To date, the government intends to meet 3-4% of the city’s electricity demand with renewable energy and the rest largely with natural gas—which comes with its own problems with leakages and more. The Chief Executive has only pledged for Hong Kong to become carbon neutral by 2050 in her most recent policy address late last year. The update to the city’s long-term decarbonisation strategy won’t be ready until later this year.

This is further held back by the slow implementation of other supporting environmental policies. While 36 cities have pledged to have zero emissions in major district by 203010, Hong Kong aims to stop new registration of private cars running on fossil fuels or hybrid on or before 2035. The waste charging bill is still languishing in the Legislative Council despite being more than 20 years behind Seoul and Taipei.11

The IPCC published the latest report on climate change earlier this week. It noted the irrefutable evidence that human activity is driving climate change. Heat waves, floods, and other climate extremes will also become more frequent and intense. Scientists say that time is running out to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and stabilise the rising temperatures.12

The climate clock is ticking. Earth is roasting. Temperatures are rising. Glaciers are melting. Cities are flooding. Risks are mounting. Damages are devastating. Outlook is haunting.

It’s time for Hong Kong to catch up and decarbonize.

Friends of the Earth (HK) is ready to act.

- We advocate Decarbonization to tackle Climate Change

- We promote Green Finance to transition a Carbon Neutral economy

- We plant Trees to absorb carbon emission and boost Biodiversity

- We facilitate Recycling to showcase Responsible Resource Utilization

Join us to defuse the Climate Crisis!




 


Reference

1. Tokyo 2020: How the climate crisis has taken centre stage at one of the hottest Olympics on record

2.Most cities too hot to host 2088 summer Olympics

3.Records crumble in Europe, Russia amid scorching heat wave

4.Fires Scorch the Sakha Republic

5.Greece faces worst heat wave in over three decades

6.Central China: 25 dead in flooded Zhengzhou metro, landslides

7.China floods: people still searching for missing relatives after official says four died in road tunnel

8.Europe floods: At least 120 dead and hundreds unaccounted for

9. A look at all of the world records that were broken at the Tokyo Olympics

10.Fossil Fuel Free Streets Declaration

11.HK is 20 years behind Seoul and Taipei on waste charging scheme, environment chief Wong Kam-sing urges public to back initiative

12.IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief

 

 

 


 


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