Brazil kicks off carbon neutral goal for FIFA World Cup

Transportation is expected to account for about 80 per cent of the carbon footprint during the event, says a report released by FIFA

By Vani Manocha
Published: Thursday 17 April 2014

FIFA World Cup, the world's biggest sporting event held every four years, has announced an initiative to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the event this summer. The move is expected to inspire more event organisers to undertake high-profile climate action.

The government of Brazil has announced a programme encouraging holders of carbon credits or certified emission reductions (CERs) from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)—the world’s largest carbon offset mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol —to donate them to organisers to offset emissions from construction and renovation of stadia, consumption of fossil fuels from official and public transport, and other sources.

By some estimates, offsetting these sources of emissions would require one million CERs or more, depending on what was covered in the calculation. That would be equivalent to taking nearly 300,000 passenger cars off the road for a year.

That carbon footprint will be significant, with just over 2.7 million tons of carbon projected to be emitted altogether by both the 2014 World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup. Transportation is expected to account for 80.1 percent of the carbon footprint, according to a report released by FIFA in May.

"Brazil's call for carbon credits to offset emissions from the world's largest mass spectator event is a welcome move and part of a global trend by organisers to green big sporting events like football tournaments and the Olympics," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after being informed of the news.

It has also been reported that FIFA is planning to offset the emissions of officials and fans by possibly buying carbon offsets.

Since being established as part of the Kyoto Protocol, the world's first emissions reduction treaty, more than 7,600 CDM projects and programmes have been approved in 105 developing countries. These range from projects that reduce emissions by replacing inefficient wood stoves with ones improving energy efficiency to solar, wind and hydro power projects. CDM has generated more than 1.4 billion CERs and has driven climate-focused investment worth US $396 billion till date.

"Measuring and reducing emissions is the responsibility of all companies and significant emitters. Investors, customers and a fast-growing proportion of the public expect it," said Hugh Sealy, chair of the executive board that oversees CDM.

Report: Developing dimension: state of the voluntary carbon markets 2012

CSE Assessment: Clean air before the games: are we living up to it?

Report: Air quality index for Delhi: trend analysis & implications for Commonwealth Games 2010

CAG Report: Audit report on XIXth Commonwealth Games 2010

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