New research has cast doubt on Qatar and FIFA’s claims that the 2022 football World Cup, due to take place in November, will be the first-ever to be carbon neutral.
A report from NGO Carbon Market Watch states that the calculations used to make the event appear carbon neutral ignore some major sources of emissions and the credits currently being purchased to offset them have a low level of environmental integrity, meaning they are unlikely to benefit the climate.
According to the study, one of the main reasons the carbon-neutrality claim appears “far-fetched” is due to the underestimation of the emissions associated with the construction of permanent new stadiums that should be attributed to the tournament, which could be understated by a factor of eight.
Furthermore, the quality and environmental integrity of the carbon credits that have so far been announced are “questionable”, states the NGO. A new standard was created especially for the tournament, which the report says raises questions about the credibility and independence of the certification scheme. Currently registered projects are highly unlikely to generate credits that will effectively counterbalance the tournament’s emissions, states the research.
“It would be great to see the climate impact of FIFA World Cups being drastically reduced, but the carbon neutrality claim that is being made is simply not credible,” says Carbon Market Watch’s Gilles Dufrasne, the author of the report. “Despite a lack of transparency, the evidence suggests that the emissions from this World Cup will be considerably higher than expected by the organisers and the carbon credits being purchased to offset these emissions are unlikely to have a sufficiently positive impact on the climate.”