Thursday, December 10, 2009
Australia scores a green goal for World Cup in 2010
by Katie Day
THE Socceroos have scored a goal for climate change by agreeing to a UN plan to offset carbon emissions for travel to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Head of corporate and public affairs, Bonita Mersiades, said the team is fully supportive of the plan and committed to reducing emissions during the international tournament.
“We are strong supporters of FIFA’s move to support reduced carbon emissions for teams and fans,” she said. “We also feel it is important for host nations to look at ways to reduce their carbon emissions.”
More than half of the qualifying countries have committed or pledged to offset emissions travelling to and from South Africa.
They include Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Cote d'Ivoire, England, Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Serbia, the United States, Uruguay and host South Africa.
Dorah Nteo, of South Africa’s Environment Department, told the conference air travel to South Africa equalled 67 per cent of the one-month event’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
UN Environment Program chief Achim Steiner did not want to wait for an international climate deal to start working towards cutting emissions among participating teams.
“There are only two things the world is pre-occupied with at the moment, climate change and the World Cup,” he said. “We want footballers to lead by example and not wait for an international deal to start cutting emissions.”
UNEP will help host cities in South Africa to cut their energy consumption by installing solar-powered and energy-efficient street lamps, traffic lights and billboards in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality.
The scheme is a partnership with the Global Environment Facility, which unites 179 member governments to address global environmental issues.
Up to have half a million fans are expected to attend the tournament and UNEP strongly encourages fans to offset their emissions as well.
“Fans have a choice through their airline to offset their emissions or they can find other ways,” Achim Steiner said. “My appeal to the fans that will travel to the World Cup is make yourselves part of the solution, then you won’t be part of the problem.”