NEWS & BLOG
Views: 27 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-11-28 Origin: Site
For Qatar, its biggest promise was that it would host the first carbon-neutral World Cup. How to neutralize 3.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions?
Here is the list of contents:
· World Cup Carbon-neutral
· Middle Eastern Tycoons and Their World Cup Splurge
· World Cup Carbon Emissions
· Will the first carbon neutral World Cup come true?
· World Cup Schedule 2022
The FIFA World Cup 2022 has been described as the most expensive World Cup ever, and as one of the richest countries in the world, hosts Qatar have splashed out US$229 billion on it.
What does $229 billion mean? Not only is this figure nearly 20 times the $11.6 billion spent on the last World Cup in Russia, it is more than six times the $44.3 billion spent between the USA World Cup 1994 and Russia World Cup 2018.
The World Cup is one of the major international sporting events, not only providing a stage for stars of all stripes to showcase themselves, but also bringing endless joy and happiness to fans of all nations. But for Mother Earth, there is little benefit. Wherever it is held, the World Cup usually generates significant greenhouse gas emissions, whether it is the construction of hotels, stadiums and infrastructure upgrades, or the transport travel of players and fans and the viewing of thousands of spectators, all of which add to the world's CO2 emissions.
Back in 2006, the Germany World Cup 2006 organising committee became the first World Cup football tournament to make a neutral effort by offsetting the CO2 emissions generated by the event through measures such as supporting clean energy projects in India and South Africa.
Qatar, the host country of this year's World Cup, also pledged in January 2020 to make the 2022 event the first 'carbon-neutral' World Cup. In September that year, the organising committee set out a detailed roadmap to meet the challenge. In a statement, the committee said: "Our goal is to advance low-carbon solutions and offset all greenhouse gas emissions in Qatar and the tournament region. There are four steps to achieving a carbon neutral World Cup: raising awareness, measuring emissions, reducing emissions and offsetting emissions."
But the reality is that environmentalists and associated researchers are slamming the tournament for its severe environmental impact, and the World Cup, which will be held on a desert peninsula in the Persian Gulf, is even considered to be one of the biggest environmental disasters in World Cup history.
Qatar, a country on the southwest coast of the Persian Gulf, bordered by Saudi Arabia and bordered by Bahrain and the UAE to the north and south respectively, is rich in natural gas and oil resources and has the world's third largest natural gas reserves at 25.2 trillion cubic metres.
With the gift of nature at its feet, Qatar has become one of the richest countries in the Middle East, with a GDP of US$169.2 billion in 2021 and a GDP per capita of US$61,800. As the world's largest producer and second largest exporter of LNG, Qatar has been seen by many European countries as a lifeline to alleviate the 'gas shortage' that has been exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war this year. The country's wealth is expected to soar further, with Global Finance predicting that Qatar's GDP per capita will exceed US$100,000 this year, making it the fourth richest country in the world and the richest in the Middle East.
According to media reports, the majority of the US$229 billion spent by Qatar on hosting the World Cup has been spent on domestic infrastructure, including roads, cities, public transport, hotels, sports facilities and stadiums.
In preparation for the World Cup, Qatar has built seven new stadiums and refurbished one, all eight of which are located in or around the capital Doha. Seven of the new stadiums will be partially demolished after the World Cup, reducing their capacity. The most important of these stadiums are the Al Bait Stadium, which will host the opening match, and the Khalifa International Stadium, which will host the final. According to official figures, the cost of building these stadiums alone, out of the total infrastructure expenditure, amounts to around US$7 billion, which alone exceeds the total expenditure on the entire infrastructure project in South Africa in 2010.
In terms of building the transport network, Qatar has spent 36 billion on the driverless Doha Metro, with the first phase of three lines officially operating in 2019. To accommodate more international flights, Qatar built the new Hamad International Airport on the eastern coast of Doha, which officially opened in 2014 with an estimated investment of over $16 billion.
In preparation for the World Cup, Qatar's biggest splurge was the $45 billion development of Lusail, a village 20 kilometres north of Doha, into the country's second largest city. The city is home to the World Cup final and the largest stadium of the tournament, the Al Lusail Stadium, which has a capacity of 80,000 people. In addition to the stadium, the city's construction includes 22 luxury hotels, two large golf courses, large parks, entertainment centres, commercial facilities and sports facilities, all of which are expected to accommodate more than 200,000 residents and visitors in Al Lusail.
Qatar officials expect the World Cup tournament to attract around US$17 billion to the country's economy, with the prospect of longer-term economic revenue growth beyond the tournament. FIFA, for its part, expects to generate US$7 billion in revenue.
The vast majority of CO2 emissions from World Cup events come from transport and infrastructure development. Qatar's main argument in its bid to host the tournament in 2010 was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by organising centralised matches in one city (Doha) and opening only one airport, thereby limiting tournament-related travel.
The Qatar World Cup Organising Committee and FIFA have kept sustainability at the heart of Qatar 2022, hoping to use this World Cup as a pilot to change the way major sporting events are organised in the future, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Qatar National Vision 2030. In preparation, the organising committee has announced ten measures to reduce its carbon footprint, including building sustainable buildings, planning renewable energy solutions, recycling stadiums, Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certification, creating green spaces and green transport.
But in fact, as historian Jonathan Pilon, author of Qatar, Land of the Rich: From the Desert to the World Cup, says: "We must not forget the geographical character of Qatar. In this country in the heart of the desert, every human action has a greater impact on the environment than anywhere else." This is a country where many materials have to be imported by air when it comes to large-scale infrastructure development, which brings with it an additional consumption of fossil fuels.
In addition, hundreds of tonnes of grass seed had to be flown in from the United States by air, no matter how hard FIFA tried. Water is scarce in Qatar, so grass must be grown using desalinated seawater. This process consumes a lot of energy, causes serious damage to the ecosystem and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the 2022 World Cup Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report, also published by the organising committee, the total greenhouse gas emissions for the reporting period of this World Cup are estimated at 3.63 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent for the three phases of preparation, tournament and post-tournament from April 2011 to June 2023. The majority of these (98%) are indirect emissions (range 33.56 million tonnes CO2 equivalent), mainly from tournament attendees in Qatar, including travel by the general public, officials and staff.
It is estimated that 75% of total emissions are generated during the World Cup tournament phase, with 44% of these coming from international air travel by participants in the tournament phase. Of this, 78.6% came from the general public attending World Cup events. The third largest estimated source of emissions is infrastructure construction and operation (890,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, or 24.6%), including the construction of stadiums, training venues and temporary facilities. These three largest categories account for over 96% of total emissions, i.e. 52% for travel, 20% for accommodation and 24.6% for infrastructure construction and operations.
Although the organisers plan to use a large amount of renewable energy and environmentally friendly materials, and to adopt carbon offsetting measures to eventually achieve a carbon neutral World Cup. But environmentalists and researchers are increasingly questioning the World Cup's misleading claims of carbon neutrality and criticising the event's serious environmental impact.
In May 2022 Carbon Market Watch reviewed the Qatar World Cup greenhouse gas emissions report and published a challenge report, 'The Yellow Card for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Carbon Neutral Claims'. The report's lead author, Gilles Dufrasne, said, "The promise of carbon neutrality is in no way credible, it is a blatant 'greenwash'."
Meanwhile, independent researchers at Paris-based carbon management startup Greenly say organisers have underestimated the World Cup's greenhouse gas emissions. greenly's research assesses the tournament's total greenhouse gas emissions at 6 million tonnes, equivalent to the emissions of roughly 750,000 US households in a year. greenly CEO and co-founder Alexis Normand called the 2022 World Cup "the biggest emissions ever".
As questioned by Carbon Market Watch in its report, the most glaring flaw in Qatar's calculation of total greenhouse gas emissions is the underestimation of emissions associated with the construction of the stadiums. In accounting for the carbon footprint, the World Cup organisers assumed that the stadiums would find meaningful use in the coming decades and therefore allocated only a small proportion of the emissions associated with their construction to them.
This method of accounting would underestimate the carbon emissions figure associated with the stadium infrastructure by a factor of eight (1.6 million tonnes vs. the 200,000 tonnes estimated by the organisers). And indeed, with the exception of Stadium 974, made from 974 shipping containers, which will be ready for demolition at the end of the tournament, the other stadiums, even if turned into community centres and commercial facilities, would still struggle to support demand from local leagues alone. Correctly accounted for, the emissions associated with the construction of the stadiums will increase by around 1.4 million tonnes, which is roughly the amount of emissions produced by a coal-fired power plant in 16 months.
Even if one accepts Qatar's approach to stadium GHG accounting, its plan to offset the remaining World Cup emissions is deeply flawed. At one credit for one tonne of CO2, even with the 3.63 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions disclosed by the organisers, Qatar would have to buy 3.63 million credits, and as Dufassil puts it: "it would still be difficult to achieve the carbon neutrality target".
But in fact to date, Qatar has only purchased carbon credits from three renewable energy projects in Turkey and Serbia, totalling less than 350,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, according to the Global Carbon Council (GCC). Without this funding, the two wind farms and one hydroelectric plant would still be in existence, according to Carbon Market Watch." The projects themselves are cost-competitive. They sell electricity and make money from it," said Dufassil, "so buying credits for these projects doesn't really affect emissions. While international carbon offset organisations already exist, the World Cup's decision to create its own programme raises a question about transparency and credibility."
Doug Parr, policy advisor in Greenpeace's UK office, describes, "Hollow carbon neutrality and carbon offsetting pledges are likely to lead us astray; real climate action needs to reduce carbon emissions directly at source, while actively transitioning from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy."
Beyond this, the carbon offsetting system itself is open to question. Funding carbon offsets for the rest of the world does not make up for the damage we have done," argues Pirrone. Again, the 2022 Qatar World Cup is a classic case of 'greenwashing'."
Some experts conclude, "If we focus on the four-week final week alone, Qatar does have the resources and the will to pull off a 'carbon neutral' World Cup, but it hardly reflects the reality - considering that 12 years of preparation have passed without any carbon offsetting or environmental damage reduction measures. "
Carbon neutrality does not happen overnight, and the World Cup has a long way to go before it is truly carbon neutral.