Mr. Bob Carr
Premier of New South Wales
Parliament House
Macquarie St.
Sydney NSW, 2000

22nd January, 1999

Dear Mr. Premier,

The world welcomes the intention of Australia and New South Wales to host in Sydney the first ever Green Olympic Games. The Environmental Guidelines for the Sydney Games will, by example, set new standards of excellence for all future international sports and cultural events in the new Millennium. Realizing the ideals of integrating the promotion of sports and culture in harmony with the protection of the environment pose a major challenge, worthy of Olympic feats. We are confident that with the leadership of the governments of Australia and New South Wales, the international community has an excellent chance to rise to the challenge.

Mr. Premier, we believe that long after all the athletic records established during the Sydney Games will have been broken and forgotten, the most essential legacy of the Green Olympics will live on. That legacy will be humanity having learned to live in harmony with nature by meeting human needs with environmentally sustainable technologies. It is a legacy of survival and hope. Of course such a legacy will only be realized if the Sydney Olympics truly live up to the promises of the Environmental Guidelines.

Mr. Premier, the Environmental Guidelines must be lauded, in part, for calling for refrigeration and air-conditioning technologies at the Olympic site that do not use fluorocarbons such as CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs. These chemicals are extremely harmful to the planet. CFCs and HCFCs are greenhouse gas chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, and are to be phased-out under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the international agreement to protect the ozone layer. HFCs are potent global warming chemicals and under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change their emissions are to be reduced, along with other major greenhouse gases .

The relevance of the Environmental Guidelines in this regard is underscored by the record breaking 26 million square kilometer ozone hole over the Antarctic in 1998, which was also of the longest duration on record; and by the myriad of record setting climate related disasters, such as floods, droughts, ice storms, heat waves and forest fires that plagued humanity worldwide during the past year, which turned out to be the hottest year since records began.

Mr. Premier, we are therefore deeply concerned that the Olympic Coordinating Authority (OCA) is planning to violate the Environmental Guidelines by installing an air-conditioning system in the Olympic Super Dome that uses HCFC-123 as the refrigerant. HCFC-123 is an ozone depleting, global warming and very toxic substance. HCFC-123 represents obsolete and environmentally dangerous technologies that have brought our planet to unprecedented crises. These technologies must be retired immediately.

Fortunately, there are environmentally sustainable and technologically mature alternatives to provide the cooling comfort for the public that will attend the Olympics. And there are Australian companies that have the expertise and the experience to install and maintain these CFC/HCFC/HFC-free technologies.

There is absolutely no reason why the Environmental Guidelines need be violated and the integrity of OCA and the Australian government need be compromised with the use of HCFC-123.

The decision by OCA to use HCFC-123, if implemented, could set a horrendous example for the major sponsors of the Olympic Games, all of whom are presently in the process of selecting a refrigerant of choice for their enterprises and equipment. Should these sponsors follow the bad example of OCA the Green Olympics would be mired in endless controversy of international proportions.

Mr. Premier, we urge you to ensure that the misguided decision to allow the use of HCFC-123 on the Olympic site is revoked, and that the spirit of the Green Olympics is restored.

Mr. Premier. On behalf of all environmentally concerned people from around the world, and all future generations, we thank you for making sure that the Green Olympics will indeed leave a legacy of survival for the new Millennium.


Jiří Tutter,
executive director of Greenpeace Czech Republic

Copies sent to:

Czech Press Agency
Czech Olympic Committee
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic

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