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China talks up ‘green’ Olympics

China uses the Winter Olympics to galvanize its environmental efforts. However, Beijing’s smog-prone capital is still bracing for the worst as the opening ceremony approaches.

Although Beijing’s air quality has improved since China won the bid to host the Games, Liu Youbin, the ministry’s spokesman, told reporters that contingency plans were in place.

In 2016, average PM2.5 concentrations in the Hebei region were 71 micrograms per cubic meter, rising to more than 500 micrograms during the winter. It compares to an average of 40 micrograms between January and September of this year.

China’s 35-microgram standard exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended level of 5 micrograms and expects to rise significantly higher during the winter.

All 26 Olympic venues in Beijing and Hebei province would be powered entirely by renewable energy. Despite the government’s failure to meet a hydrogen production target, more than 700 hydrogen-powered vehicles will deploy.

China has stated that the Games will be carbon neutral for the first time. Greenpeace, however, said that without more data, determining whether the goal met would be challenging.

Another issue is water scarcity, particularly when creating artificial snow and ice. Organizers said the Games would not put additional pressure on local water supplies.

Oil

On Monday, U.S. oil fell after airlines canceled thousands of flights over the Christmas holidays due to increased COVID-19 cases. Brent crude gained support, hoping that the Omicron variant will have little impact on global demand.

Many flights cancel by US airlines due to COVID-19, which reduced the number of available crews, and several cruise ships had to cancel stops.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 85 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $72.94 per barrel. Friday was a holiday in the United States, closing the market.

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