Sochi. With the 2014 Sochi Olympics approaching, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a public statement asking the International Olympic Committee to use an eco-friendly approach to the Olympic Torch.
Instead of using a large torch with an actual flame, the IPCC has requested that the IOC use a low-energy electronic orange bulb that flickers. Its plan also included the use of a fan that blows paper streamers, providing the convincing appearance that the torch is an actual “flame.” The streamers would be made from recycled paper.
The manufacturer slated to construct the internals of this state-of-the art torch also owns the patents to the automated one-handed clapper, the aftermarket power turbo feature in the Toyota Prius, and the mosquito eating machine.
The president of the IPCC, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, said during a January 3 press conference that he would rather not see a flame that produces such a high volume of heat and carbon dioxide, and uses the burning of fossil fuels.
“Because the Olympics is a representation of the views of all nations, to have them lighting a giant fire would send the wrong message. But we’ve come up with a convincing alternative that everyone can agree upon,” remarked Pachauri.
Some disagree that the change would be “convincing.” As Russian President Vladimir Putin quipped, in an interview with The Guardian, “Of course it could be convincing, much the way tofu is a convincing meat.”
The IPCC also commented that in order to save electricity, its version of the Olympic Torch would have to be shut down during daylight hours. However, the panel’s rationale for this recommendation is that few would realize that the torch is “burning” during those hours regardless.
Another issue raised is the fact that the lighting of the Olympic Torch takes place during a globally televised ceremony. In order to keep up the illusion that the athletes are actually lighting a torch, the IPCC recommended that the torch lighters use electronic torches of their own that come equipped with remotes. All they would have to do is push a button at the same time, and the “torch” would be “lit.”
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Another concern that the IPCC raised was the issue of smoke and carbon-producing fireworks that have been used during Olympic ceremonies for decades. Their solution was also electronic and even more technologically advanced.
Essentially, there would be a large screen that would show a computer graphically generated fireworks show, complete with authentic-sounding booms. Because they want to completely avoid the use of environmentally harmful fireworks, the show would have to be a 3D display rather than a video of the real thing. Also, the crowd could be provided with 3D glasses, similar to those seen in modern movie theaters. However, some hardliner IPCC members are uncomfortable with the idea, as these glasses are often made of plastic.
One member suggested that the audience purchase the glasses for €175 apiece, and the proceeds would go to a fund that contributes to carbon footprint offsets. The bank that manages the fund is the Central Bank of Somalia, which the UN says has a track record for integrity.