Rio 2016 says it will offset 3.6 mln tonnes of emissions at Games

(Reuters) - The Rio 2016 local organizing committee set a target on Thursday to offset the total amount of greenhouse gases estimated to be produced by the world’s largest multi-sport event.

Members of the media visit the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, undergoing renovation to stage athletic competitions during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, during the 2nd world press briefing for the games in Rio de Janeiro August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

The Olympic Games are expected to generate 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), mostly due to traveling and accommodation of spectators, the local organizing committee (LOC) said.

That number is slightly larger than what was released by the London 2012 Games, at around 3.4 million tonnes of CO2e.

Rio 2016 LOC said, however, that it has no intention to tap carbon markets for their neutralization program. Instead, they will use a combination of projects from the public and private sectors.

Organizers of large sports events such as the Olympics and the soccer World Cup have tried to reduce their carbon footprints in a response to criticism from environmental groups.

The London Games had its emissions partially neutralized, while the Sochi Winter Olympics and the Brazil World Cup this year already reached full compensation.

Rio’s committee said Dow Chemical will be its official carbon partner, in charge of offsetting 2 million tonnes of CO2e.

Dow plans to reach the emissions reductions by implementing programs such as a fuel switch at power installations in its plants in Brazil.

It will also calculate the reductions achieved with the use of some of its products in the agriculture and the food processing sectors in the country.

Rio’s government will complement the Games’ carbon footprint offsetting with a reforestation program for degraded areas of the Atlantic Rainforest.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Alan Crosby