Major climate polluters are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on sports sponsorship to obfuscate their role in perpetrating the climate crisis, the Guardian reports. According to a new report published by the New Weather Institute, polluters from oil and gas companies to airlines are attempting to “sports-wash” across multiple sports. Those companies, NWI co-director and co-author of the report Andrew Simms told the Guardian, are seeking “to appear as friends of healthy activity, when in fact they’re pumping lethal pollution into the very air that athletes have to breathe.” Auto and airline companies are the most prolific sponsors, followed by oil and gas companies, including Ineos, the sponsor of one of professional cycling’s highest-profile teams. “Sport is in the frontline of the climate emergency but floats on a sea of sponsorship deals with the major polluters,” Simms said.
“It makes the crisis worse by normalising high-carbon, polluting lifestyles and reducing the pressure for climate action.” Major polluters, he added, have taken up the sponsorship roll previously filled by tobacco companies and “should be stopped for the same reason tobacco sponsorship ended: for the health of people, sports and the planet.” (The Guardian)