The intention was that 2020 would be dominated by the ‘Olympic Green Games of Tokyo 2020’. A redemption for the terrible events surrounding the seaquake and the subsequent nuclear disaster of Fukushima in 2011. In this way Japan can show that they have completely recovered. A similar situation also occurred in 1964 when the Olympic Games were held in Japan for the first time. Even then, the games were a redemption for a traumatic event earlier in history. In 1940, the games were to be organized in Japan, but due to the World War, it was canceled.

That is why the Japanese government is keen to let the Games continue in 2021 so that redemption can be achieved despite corona. These games shouldn’t be just any event, they should be the greenest games ever hosted. The only bad thing is that the Japanese residents do not like it that tourists appear from all corners of the globe. Understandable, given that the pandemic is still very strong among us.

No warm reception

Research has shown that 80% of Japanese residents prefer not to see foreign visitors appear for the Games. In addition, the Japanese government is trying to organize the Games ‘as green as possible’. That’s why we thought it would be interesting to put an amount on one of the ‘greenest aspects’ of these games: not flying airplanes. So, today’s question:

“How much CO2 emissions will it save if these visitors watch the all-around in front of the TV instead of traveling an average of 9,000 km to see how an athlete can jump as far as possible?”

Data Collection

Based on data from the games in Rio in 2016, it was calculated how much CO2 emissions are released by the air travel of foreign visitors who came to the country with the Olympic Games as the main reason. In Brazil there were 410,000 foreign visitors who came mainly for the Olympics. These came mainly from the ‘home continent’ of South America, Europe and North America. Since Tokyo is in the ‘home continent’ of Asia, we exchange it for South America. We assume that the amount of visitors from Europe, North America and elsewhere would remain more or less the same.

Table 1: Data from travel behaviour from the Olympic Games in Rio (Brasil).

A whole bunch of trees

Based on the average distance and the emission factor for travelers using the aircraft, this results in a total CO2 emission of more than 300 thousand tons of CO2 which is shown in Table 2. We assume that we can cross this out for the sake of convenience against what they emit ‘at home’.

When Japan receives a similar number of visitors traveling similar distances, a similar amount of CO2 emissions can be expected should the pandemic allow it. This means that there must be 14 million fully grown trees to compensate for this. Check out our CO2 Compensation page to find out which partners we work with and how Japan could offset these emissions!
So, we can advise the Japanese government to listen to the residents. This not only makes the Olympic Games more resistant to the pandemic, but also really ‘a bit greener’.



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