Qatar claims the World Cup it is set to host later this month will be carbon-neutral, but its claim is unsubstantiated at best, the AP reports. The amount of energy required for the construction of seven massive stadiums, highways, a new metro system and a whole new city — not to mention the air conditioning of the open-air stadiums to protect players and fans from the extreme heat that has killed thousands of the migrant workers building the stadiums, and the desalination of ocean water to sate the thirst of the 1.2 million fans descending upon the 2.9 million person country — will be massive. Thousands of fans will also sleep in hotels in Dubai and take 45-minute plane rides to games and back again.
Qatar and FIFA’s creative accounting of those emissions, however, dramatically undercounts the World Cup’s greenhouse gas pollution, a new report from Carbon Market Watch finds. “It’s not very helpful for this type of event to market itself as carbon-neutral,” Gilles Dufrasne, who authored a report on the World Cup’s claims for Carbon Market Watch. “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 quality of the carbon credits purchased to offset the climate pollution is also dubious. “They’re relying on arguably some of the lowest quality credits that exist today,” Danny Cullenward of CarbonPlan told the AP, adding, “It’s not clear that the strategy of carbon offsetting is actually meaningful.” (AP; Worker deaths: TIME)