Qatar 2022 carbon-neutral claims pooh-poohed


Doubts on Qatar carbon neutral World Cup Image: Qatar 2022

Climate advocates have cast doubt on Qatar’s efforts to host soccer’s first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup™ by offsetting or eliminating emissions that contribute to global warming, according to a report released on May 31st.

The ‘Reuters’ stated that organizers in the Gulf Arab State are omitting some greenhouse gas emissions from their calculations and will rely on flimsy carbon offsets to reach carbon neutrality, said the report, compiled by the Carbon Market Watch, an advocacy group.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup™ is scheduled to be the 22nd running of the FIFA World Cup™ competition, the quadrennial international men’s football championship contested by the national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Qatar from November 21st to December 18th, 2022.

Carbon Market Watch is a not-for-profit association with unique expertise in carbon pricing and a track record of policy work in international organizations and the European Union.

In a statement, Qatar’s tournament organizers dismissed the conclusions as speculative, saying emissions will be calculated using “best-in practice” methods after the tournament ends to ensure they are based on actual activities.

The ‘Reuters’ further stated that Qatar, the world’s largest producer of natural gas, pledged to host a carbon neutral tournament when it bid for the event more than 11 years ago.

Said Fengqi You, an Energy Systems Engineer at Cornell University, “Can they claim it’s a carbon neutral event at this point? Too early.”

That will depend on factors like how many people will attend, You said.

The Carbon Market Watch criticized Qatar’s method of spreading the emissions from building stadiums over the lifetime of the facility, rather than counting it all toward the World Cup. But that is a common practice, You said.

The academic said it would be impossible for the event to reach carbon neutrality without buying offsets. Once the event is over and all emissions are accounted for, offsetting it all is a question of how much money Qatar is willing to spend buying offsets, generally backed by carbon negative activities like planting trees, he said.

The decision to offset its emissions should be “recognized rather than criticized”, a spokesperson for the tournament organizers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, said in a statement.

Qatar’s organizers have highlighted the tournament’s carbon limiting efforts, such as introducing solar-powered stadium air conditioning, building a reusable stadium from shipping containers and the fact that fans won’t need to fly from one match to the next in tiny Qatar.

But Carbon Market Watch’s report cast doubt on several initiatives, like a large-scale grass farm that Qatar, which has negligible water resources, has built in the desert to produce stadium-ready turf.

Established in 2011 by the State of Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) is responsible for the delivery of the required infrastructure and host country planning and operations for Qatar to host an amazing and historic 2022 FIFA World Cup™ which accelerates progress towards achieving national development goals and creates a lasting legacy for Qatar, the Middle East, Asia, and the world.

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