Photo: The Olympic elephant in the room (or woolly mammoth)

(Credit: Jusu Toivonen)

By Ian Bruce, Team Lead, Climate Change Program

Vancouver's record hot temperatures during the 2010 Winter Games have certainly given organizers a lot a headaches — and have likely made a lot of people nervous behind the scenes. The responses to these problems have garnered a lot of media attention, from flying in snow by helicopter to refunding more than 8,000 tickets to the snowboarding events to protect spectators from dangerous "ice holes" (although not the same iceholes Stephen Colbert was talking about) formed by the heavy rains on Cypress Mountain's snowpack.

But very little has been said about the real Olympic elephant in the room: what needs to be done to protect the future of winter sports, and for that matter the planet, from global warming.

To put some focus on the main solution to the problem, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, former Olympian and World Cup ski champion Thomas Grandi and I published an op-ed in today's Vancouver Sun.

One thing that gives me hope that we can overcome climate change has been the incredible leadership demonstrated by many of Canada's top Olympic athletes in recent months. These athletes are truly leading the way, from hand delivering a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office calling for action at the recent UN climate summit to encouraging the Olympic movement to get involved to reducing their own carbon footprint with the David Suzuki Foundation and The Climate Project Canada's Play It Cool Program.

Let's hope these spring Olympic conditions will kick off an international debate on the solutions to climate change, with Canada playing a major constructive role.

February 23, 2010

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