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Olympic teams from US, other countries to bring own AC units for Paris Games despite environmental plan

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The U.S. Olympic team and national sports federations from a few other countries will supply their respective athletes with air conditioners at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, despite Olympic organizers’ environmental plans to cut carbon emissions.

Organizers have promoted plans to use a system of cooling pipes underneath floors to cool rooms in the Athletes Village, which will house more than 15,000 Olympians and sports officials during the Summer Games, according to The Associated Press.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said Friday that the U.S. team appreciates efforts to address sustainability, but that the committee would be supplying AC units for U.S. athletes during the Summer Games.

“We will have air conditioning in the rooms in the village,” Hirshland said. “We have great respect for the work that’s been done by the Paris Organizing Committee in particular, and their focus on sustainability. And I know that there have been lots of questions around the consistency of that, coupled with the air conditioning.”

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“As you can imagine, this is a period of time in which consistency and predictability is critical for Team USA’s performance,” Hirshland continued. “In our conversations with athletes, this was a very high priority and something that the athletes felt was a critical component in their performance capability.”

Other countries that plan to bring air conditioners to the Paris Games include Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada and Great Britain, The Washington Post reported. Japan has reportedly considered bringing units for its athletes as well.

The average high temperature in Paris on Aug. 1 is 26 degrees Celsius, or 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the goal of the organizers’ environmental plan is to keep the rooms between 23-26 degrees Celsius, or 73-79 degrees Fahrenheit. The rooms will also have fans, according to the plan.

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A bedroom of the Olympic village

“I want the Paris Games to be exemplary from an environmental point of view,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said about the plans for the Olympics.

Fewer than one in 10 households in Europe have air conditioning, and the number of households in Paris that have it is even lower, according to the International Energy Agency. The agency also said that of the 1.6 billion AC units being used around the world in 2016, more than half were in China (with 570 million) and the U.S. (375 million), while the entire European Union had around 100 million.

Additionally, France has also had to spend $1.5 billion to clean the Seine River in preparation for aquatic events at the Summer Games, since the river remains too polluted to accommodate the sports, according to Newsweek.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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