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Climate change and Winter Olympics: Sites getting harder to find

One of the world’s greatest displays of athleticism may soon be viewable only on video recordings if climate change is left unchecked. 

One of the world’s greatest displays of athleticism may soon be viewable only on video recordings if climate change is left unchecked. Though the Games recently concluded, Winter Olympics organizers still have big challenges ahead of them – finding host cities with acceptable winter conditions.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada and the Management Center Innsbruck in Austria found that only six of the 19 cities that have hosted Winter Olympics in the past would be able to reliably host the games again if current climate patterns hold and the carbon pollution that causes climate isn’t limited.

In Sochi, officials had to cancel test events due to a lack of snowpack and were only able to move forward because Russian organizers stockpiled 16 million cubic feet of snow from last winters’ snowpack to ensure the games could continue as scheduled. The same happened in Vancouver when helicopters had to be used to dump snow onto snowboarding sites.

The effects of climate change have been unfolding on an international stage. It’s time that policies to address it took center stage in Washington.

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