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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Flameout: Climate change threatens Southeast Asia's Olympic dreams

Projections suggest region will be too hot to host games as we know them

Climate change will create a plethora of challenges, one of which will be finding a place that is not too hot to handle the Olympics.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The 2020 Olympics are six months away, but Tokyo is already feeling the summer heat.

In a surprise decision, the International Olympic Committee opted to move the endurance events to cooler Hokkaido, out of concern that high temperatures in Japan's capital would endanger the athletes. This is only the beginning of the IOC's battle with climate change, an in-depth Nikkei study of global warming projections shows.

Click here for our visual presentation of the findings.

By 2050, more than 60% of 193 possible host cities will likely be too hot to hold the games in August. All of South and Southeast Asia will be unfit.

An obvious solution would be to hold the games at a cooler time of year. But this is more complicated than it sounds, due a U.S.-centric broadcasting schedule. For NBC, which holds the exclusive rights to show the games in the biggest market, July and August is the ideal time for the Olympics, since most major American sports leagues are in their offseasons.

Still another problem is the declining number of cities seeking Olympic hosting rights. Cost overruns and opposition from local residents have made many cities think twice about submitting bids.

All these factors, taken together, raise serious questions about the future of the world's biggest sporting event.

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