By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Apart from political issues, the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, which will be staged in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December, also raises some green issues.
Whilst FIFA and Qatar claim that the organisation and staging of the event is carbon-neutral or have a negligible overall impact on the climate, by offsetting carbon emissions with credits, other climate and environmental experts claim otherwise.
In an official report, FIFA and the Qatari organisers estimate that the event will produce around 3.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from related activities between 2011 and 2023.
Other experts claim that the real figure is around 10 million metric tons.
For example, Carbon Market Watch, an NGO, based in Brussels, claim that FIFA and the organisers have underestimated the emissions from building the seven new stadiums needed for the event.
Qatar has also built a new metro system, highways and high-rises, as well as a new futuristic city, Lusail, which twelve years ago, when the event was awarded by FIFA to Qatar, was mostly dust and sand.
According to Gilles Dufrasne of Carbon Market Watch:
“It is not very helpful for this type of event to market itself as carbon-neutral.”
“It gives the impression that we can build massive state-of-the-art stadiums …… and fly people from all over the world to watch football matches and that’s somehow compatible with reaching climate targets.”
The ‘greening’ of the World Cup is proving to be a highly technical and controversial matter!