August 3, 2021

Sport challenged by global warming

The images of marathoners, victims of discomfort in the crushing night heat of Doha, in September 2019, during the athletics worlds, had struck the spirits.

Like those of those tennis players suffocating during qualifying for the Australian Open, four months later, in the toxic fumes released by the monster fires that ravaged the country, burned every year by summers over 50 ° C.

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Each winter, how many mountain resorts in France have to close for lack of snow, when others bring it by helicopter, as in Montclar (Southern Alps) or Superbagnères (Pyrenees) in 2020, refusing to see the inevitable exhaustion white vein? Will it even still be possible to ski in twenty or thirty years at less than 2,000 meters? To jog without suffocating?

WWF France published a report on Tuesday July 6 assessing the impact of climate change on sports practice in France. This study is the first of its kind with such precise data, argues the non-governmental organization (NGO). Faced with rising temperatures, sport, like all human activities, will be profoundly disrupted, she emphasizes. Not only daily performance and practice, but also equipment management (gymnasiums, sports halls, etc.) and the sustainability of natural sites.

Two examples are developed by the study: a hypothesis of warming by 2050 of + 2 ° C compared to pre-industrial levels, i.e. the maximum temperature increase recommended by the Paris Agreement of 2015, and another of + 4 ° C by 2090. “At + 2 ° C, we are still able to adapt, at + 4 ° C, we would witness a questioning of the foundations of human society, warns Isabelle Autissier, honorary president of WWF. All is not lost, but, and it is a fact, we are experiencing twice as many heat waves as thirty years ago. “

Hyperthermia, dehydration …

Some upheavals are already at work: the Earth has warmed by more than 1 ° C since the end of the 19th century.e century, atmospheric and marine pollution are more and more important, the melting of the snowpack is accelerating … Claiming from the world of sport that it adapts now, supports the WWF.

One example among others: half of the 60,000 gymnasiums and sports halls in France – built before 1987 – are unsuited to the increase in heat waves, which could double by 2050, recalls the NGO. Indoor sports would then become impossible without thermal renovation work.

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