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Vancouver — More than 70 of Canada's top Olympic and national team athletes are calling on the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) to make the 2010 Winter Games carbon neutral.

"We're encouraging VANOC to lead by example and use the inspirational power of the Olympics. Let's show the world that together we can put effective climate change solutions into action," said Adam Kreek, Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist in rowing.

VANOC CEO John Furlong has publicly stated that climate change is at the top of VANOC's environmental agenda, and that VANOC's goal is to hold a carbon neutral Games. "The good news is that the cost of meeting VANOC's commitment is affordable at an estimated 0.3 per cent of the Games' total budget. And this is an excellent opportunity for an Olympic sponsor," said Deborah Carlson, Climate Change Specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation.

With just one year to go, time is running out for VANOC to announce a plan to deal with the climate impact of the Games. The athletes, many of whom will be competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics, have addressed their concerns in an open letter to VANOC CEO John Furlong.

"Throughout my 15-year career as a cross-country skier, I have seen the seasons becoming less predictable, and races being cancelled more frequently due to lack of snow, said Sara Renner, Olympic cross-country ski silver medalist for Canada. "I am concerned about the future of the sports we love, but also about the next generation of Canadians, who will be left to deal with even more serious climate change impacts if we don't act now," added Renner.

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For further information:

Kristen Ostling, Media Relations, David Suzuki Foundation, kostling@davidsuzuki.org, 778-987-9907

Download a media backgrounder on a carbon neutral 2010 Winter Games (PDF)

February 5, 2009