Carbon emissions from next year’s soccer FIFA World Cup are expected to soar from the 2006 benchmark set by Germany, host nation South Africa said on Monday.

Harmful emissions accelerate global warming and major sports events, including Olympic and World Cup tournaments, have since the early 1990s been designed to minimize the impact on the environment.

“The FIFA 2010 World Cup will have the largest carbon footprint of any major event with a goal to be climate neutral,” South Africa’s Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica told Reuters in response to emailed questions.

She said the estimated carbon footprint of Africa’s first soccer World Cup is 896,661 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), with an additional 1,856,589 tCO2e contributed by international travel.

Air travel to visit the long-haul destination is expected to make up 67 percent of the country’s total carbon emissions during the one-month event next year, for which up to 500,000 foreign tourists are expected.

“This footprint is almost 10 times the footprint of the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany,” Sonjica said, adding that Germany did not include air travel in its carbon footprint estimates four years ago.

PUBLICATION: Reuters
AUTHOR: Wendell Roelf
DATED: 19th October 2009