Amy Steel: Brisbane's chance to host climate positive Olympics

Picture: Lazyllama/Shutterstock
Picture: Lazyllama/Shutterstock

Australia got some very exciting news last week, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selecting beautiful Brisbane as the preferred city for the 2032 games.

While I remember the thrill of watching the 2000 Olympics as a 11-year old, I'm excited about the 2032 games for another reason.

From 2030, the IOC expects host cities to make the games 'climate positive'. That is, the event will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits.

So the Brisbane games are not only an opportunity for the Sunshine State to flex its nation-leading renewable energy muscles, they're also great news for the thousands of Australian sports fans who see the impacts of climate change on their favourite games.

Across our nation, we are seeing longer, hotter heatwaves; worsening droughts and storms; and sea level rise affecting the sports we love.

In regional towns, drought, extreme heat, and even bushfire smoke have disrupted community sporting leagues, forcing match cancellations and ending seasons early.

The 'summer of sport' that many of us grew up with is becoming an increasingly dangerous prospect for kids today.


It's the same struggle for professional sport, too. Just look at the smoke that lingered over last year's Australian Open, or the extreme heat that cut short the Tour Down Under the year before.

In fact, I wrote in this column two years ago about how extreme heat brought my own professional netball career to a screeching halt when I suffered heatstroke after a match.

Even though I can't play competitively anymore, my love for sport has motivated me to speak out about the critical need for action on climate change, which is driven by the burning of coal, oil, and gas.

As a new Climate Council report shows, the sports sector is already racing ahead with action on climate change.

Solar panels are lighting up sporting venues across the country, and household names like former Wallabies captain David Pocock and cricket's Pat Cummins are raising awareness about this.

From empowering athletes to speak out to switching sponsorship away from fossil fuel-backed companies, there's so much more our industry can do.

Of course, we also need all levels of government to get to net zero emissions as soon as possible. We're a sporting nation, and we love to win. Let's give our all in the race for a clean, safe future, and clinch that climate action gold medal.

Amy Steel is a senior manager-climate change, Deloitte and former netball player for the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Melbourne Vixens and Queensland Firebirds.

This story Why summer sports are becoming more dangerous for kids first appeared on The Canberra Times.