The location for the 2012 games has yet to be chosen, but two of the top contenders are New York and London. As noted here recently, New York's efforts to get the Olympics have not gone without controversy; as Emily notes, there's no sign that the organizers for NY2012 have paid much attention to the "green Olympics" conversation going on around the world (especially in China, site of the 2008 games). London, however, seems to be embracing the green Olympics idea in a big way.
If the bid goes out to London, the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will feature many renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in the spirit of the country's recent adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.
Energy conservation and the use of renewable energy will be promoted across Olympic venues, coupled with a public education campaign to raise awareness of these issues. [...]
"This is a fantastic first step to contribute to a 'low carbon Games', and we are delighted to lead the way in helping to achieve this target at such a important international event," said Jeremy Leggett, CEO of solarcentury.
I admit to mixed feelings about this. Of course the venues built for the Olympics should be as energy-efficient and as carbon-neutral as possible, but it would be sad if, in 2012, energy conservation and renewable energy still need to be promoted as something special and different. Making the Olympics in 2012 green shouldn't be seen as being ahead of the curve -- not having a green Olympics in 2012 should be seen as lagging behind.
You're right. By 2012, this stuff has to come standard in new construction. But my impression is that this debate is not really about what's built in 2012: it's much more about raising our expectations today. By committing itself to a green Olympics now, London is helping to raise the bar today.
Look at the Madrid Olympic Bid 100% Renewable Energy target:
That's pretty good !