London's race for a greener Olympics

Barely two months remain before throngs of athletes and spectators crowd into London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Along with the traditional, frantic last-minute preparations, the host city is also hustling to deliver on its pledge to make these Summer Games the greenest ever.

Whether or not the British capital lives up to its pledge won’t be truly known until after the Olympics conclude. But a new progress report issued in late April suggests the London planning committee is poised to meet or to surpass most sustainability goals both for the Games and for post-Games operations at the Olympics site.

According to that report, the event’s estimated footprint will be approximately 326,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, providing planners can pull off all their planned reduction activities.

One area where the committee was forced to backpedal, however, was its plans for having at least 20 percent of the energy used to power the Games to come from renewable sources.  It was forced to settle for 10 percent, instead, after a wind turbine project was scratched.

"The actual Games footprint will be determined from the quantitative measurement of Games-time activities," the committees wrote in their latest sustainability progress report, “Delivering Change.”

"There will always be debate on what counts as avoidance and reduction given the lack of a firm baseline at the start, but the data, coupled with narrative on the measures taken to minimize the projected footprint, will be a vital legacy setting a benchmark for future events."

Image of Olympics 2012 with running track and British Flag by WimL via Shutterstock.

Next page: The nuts and bolts of a green Olympics