The World Cup: Is It Truly Carbon Neutral?

The World Cup: Is It Truly Carbon Neutral

Sunday’s opening game of the 2022 World Cup featured the national teams of Ecuador and the host nation Qatar. FIFA, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC, and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy all came to an agreement that the highly awaited international athletic event would cut or offset all of its greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the event website, human activity is affecting the environment on Earth. The game of football is not exempt from these important changes. We must all do our part to cut back on emissions into the atmosphere.

Subsequent Research, However, Showed that This Assertion Is Simply Greenwashing.

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup is being promoted as a carbon-neutral occasion. This indicates that it has little to no effect on the climate overall. Carbon Market Watch Policy Officer Grilles Dufrasnew noted in a statement that our study of the available facts raises major concerns about this assertion, which likely underestimates the true emissions levels and climate effect of the event. This is not a harmless exercise because it deceives participants—players, spectators, sponsors, and the general public—into thinking that their (possible) participation in the event will have no impact on the environment.

The construction of new stadiums for the event was the primary area of calculation failure. According to Grist, since being chosen as the host country in 2010, Qatar has built seven new stadiums, 30 practice facilities, thousands of hotel rooms, and an extension to Doha International Airport.

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According to Dufrasne, “The Stadiums’ Structure Was the Primary Problem We Discovered.”

The event’s overall emissions were calculated by the Cup organizers to be 3.6 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). But according to research updated on October 31 by Carbon Market Watch, the event-based emissions from the built permanent stadiums may be understated by as much as eight times, emitting 1.6MtCO2e rather than 0.2MtCO2e.

This is so because the number of days the World Cup was held divided by the total number of days the stadiums would be utilized in the future—a concept is known as use share—was used to calculate the emissions from the stadiums.

Dufrasne noted that this is troubling because these stadiums were built especially for the World Cup. It is questionable whether so many stadiums will be used extensively in such a tiny area of land in the future, especially in light of the fact that Doha had just one significant stadium prior to being granted the World Cup.

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Dufrasne added that if Qatar had not hosted the international soccer tournament, it might have been conceivable to have future events in venues that were more effective. This is presuming that the structures are in fact repurposed.

When referring to previous Olympic hosts like Rio de Janeiro or Athens, researcher Walker Ross from the University of Edinburgh said, “You see story after story of communities that have built these venues and they become what we call white elephants these big, embarrassing projects that are left over because nobody had any clue what to do with them afterward.”

The fact that the claims of the cup’s carbon neutrality depend on carbon offsets—a contentious strategy even when used perfectly—is another issue with those claims.

The Middle East and North Africa program head for Greenpeace declared to DW that “it does not work.” “This whole concept of offsetting is just a diversion from the real climate action, which is lowering emissions based on fossil fuels as quickly as possible,”

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Additionally, there are issues with the event’s offsets in particular. The largest turf farm in the world, constructed in the desert, is one alternative promoted by the event organizers. Carbon Market Watch, however, stated that it was improbable that such a strained green area would store the carbon as claimed by the organizers.

According to DW, the event’s legitimacy is further weakened by its pledge to offset at least 1.8 million credits through the Global Carbon Council, a carbon credit system that organizers helped establish. Only about 200,000 of these credits had been distributed as of the cup’s opening.

Making claims about carbon neutrality now is incredibly deceptive, according to Dufrasne, and there are very, very few, if any, businesses that do it correctly.

Author: Adam Bertocci

Adam has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. He lived with computers all his life and he works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. Ryan has been working with Enviro 360 now. He likes to swim and play video games as his hobby.

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