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Reality check: How green is the soccer World Cup?


The 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on Sunday, has drawn the attention of human rights and environmental groups around the globe. The host country claims that the event is the first World Cup to be carbon-free. But it is? Mint checks promises:

Why is the Qatar World Cup so closely monitored?

Concerns began to surface much earlier, when Fifa chose Qatar as host in 2022 12 years ago. Since then, Qatar has received a lot of criticism from the press, from allegations of bribery to host the tournament, to human rights violations by migrant workers brought in to help prepare and record the tournament. country on gay rights. Another point of contention is the claim that the event will be carbon neutral, meaning that it will be able to offset all the carbon released as a result of the event. Many environmental groups have denied this claim, accusing the organizers of a “boycott”.

How will Qatar make this event sustainable?

Qatar’s approach to sustainability—cutting emissions as much as possible and then buying carbon credits to make a difference—has received a lot of attention because of its carbon footprint. highest per capita. With the help of Swiss carbon management company South Pole, tournament organizers released a greenhouse gas accounting report for last year’s event, which indicated that 3.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions will be released during the preparation and running of the tournament. This is higher than the 2.17 million tons estimated for Russia in 2018 and 2.72 million tons for Brazil in 2014.

Pitch isn't perfect

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Pitch isn’t perfect

Which of Qatar’s emissions claims is exaggerated?

Carbon Market Watch, an independent research group, has found that building new stadiums has generated eight times more carbon emissions than FIFA estimates. Greenly, another organization, estimates the event’s total carbon footprint at 6 million tons. Greenly director Alexis Normand told Bloomberg that WC 2022 will be “the most emitting event ever”.

Were the previous world cups “bleached”?

In a report, climate action campaigner Greenpeace called Fifa’s claims of a carbon-free world cup potentially greenwashing. But this is not the first time the regulator has been accused of a boycott. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, attendees to the country are encouraged to offset their carbon footprint through a United Nations-sponsored program called Neutralize climate right now. Climate experts have described the initiative as greenwashing as they found some fundamental flaws in the plan.

Are the organization’s green efforts futile?

Bloomberg reports that Qatar plans to buy 1.8 million carbon offsets from the Global Carbon Council to offset emissions. The country has also engaged in renewable projects and is committed to tracking emissions from fan flights to and from the event. A stadium will be dismantled after use. Organizers of a large-scale event must declare—and implement—green practices that should be commended. The attention this tournament has caused because of its impact on the environment should be a wake-up call for Fifa.

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