‘Greenwashing’ mars Qatar’s carbon-neutral World Cup promise

© Karim Jaafar, AFP

When Qatar was awarded hosting duties for the biggest event in football, the Gulf nation promised to host "the first carbon neutral World Cup". While organisers have introduced several green initiatives, environmentalists accuse the event's governing body of "greenwashing" its environmental claims.

Hosting a football World Cup tournament may be good for fans, players and sponsors, but it’s rarely good for the planet. The 2022 World Cup due to start on November 20 in Qatar has already received bad publicity over migrant rights issues. Now, environmentalists are criticising the competition over its devastating evironmental impact.

With its recently built air-conditioned stadiums and 150 daily flights to bring in fans, the 2022 World Cup has been slammed as one of the biggest environmental fiascos in the competition’s history.

In January 2020, Qatar promised to make the 2022 tournament the first "carbon neutral" World Cup. In September of that year, the organising committee detailed a roadmap to meet the challenge. "Our goal is to offset all greenhouse gas emissions while advancing low-carbon solutions in Qatar and the region. A carbon-neutral tournament is delivered through a four-step process : awareness, measurement, reduction and offsetting," said the committee in a statement.

"For the moment, these credits are unlikely to have a positive impact on the climate", he continued. "Not least because they are financing projects that had little need for them."

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