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Climate change worries IOC

VANCOUVER, February 9- Global warming is starting to worry the International Olympic Committee, with concern mounting over how it might affect future Games.IOC president Jacques Rogge said it was an issue discussed in meetings on Monday ahead of the Winter Olympics here, with the issue of Cypress Mountain, just outside of Vancouver, highlighting the problem.

The mountain is the site for the freestyle and snowboard events but has been plagued by a drastic lack of snow caused by the warm temperatures which have seen Vancouver enjoying unseasonal highs of around 10C (50F).

Lorry loads of snow have been carted in to the venue and media banned from visiting in an effort to get it ready in time.

"Global warming of course is a worry, it is a worry for the entire world," Rogge said.

"It might affect, in the long-term, the staging of Winter Games but I can tell you that today in the evaluation committee meeting we asked for statistics.

"It is very clear that we want to know what the snow conditions are in a particular resort. Of course, this is not a guarantee for the future.

"But we are doing good research on this. There is also the improvement in artifical snow machines and everything that has been put in place in Cypress Mountain, for example, to alleviate changes in meteorology."

Rogge said global warming would be a key issue examined in awarding any future Winter Olympics.

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"Global warming is definitely a factor that must be taken into account in Olympic preparations," he said.

"In awarding the event to a host city, we must look at the climate and snow conditions and geography, as well as ways to alleviate any lack of snow."

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