All those airplanes crisscrossing Brazil for the 2014 World Cup next summer will nearly double carbon emissions compared to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. According to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the event will kick 2.72 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with nearly 80 percent of the pollution coming from jet travel to the 64 matches played in 12 stadiums.
Image © Journalist Ireland
While most of the World Cup stadiums are designed to achieve LEED certification and many are installing solar panels on their rooftops, a few of the stadiums are located in remote locations far from the major coastal cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The Amazon city of Manaus in the northwestern area of the country is 1,765 flight miles (2,841 kilometers) from Rio, and Cuiaba in Brazil’s center-western region is 978 flight miles (1,574 km) from Rio. The furthest flight distance in South Africa was 959 miles (1,544 km) between Cape Town and Polokwane.
FIFA plans to offset 100 percent of the World Cup’s carbon footprint. In addition to greening stadiums, initiatives could include financing reforestation projects and investing in wind energy and hydroelectricity. Renewable energy already accounts for more than 85.4 percent of domestic energy produced in Brazil, with hydroelectric power plants producing over 90 percent of the nation’s electricity.
“An organization like FIFA has to understand the extent of its environmental impact, including its carbon footprint,” FIFA’s head of corporate social responsibility, Federico Addiechi, said in a FIFA.com blog post last year. “We’ve taken steps to evaluate what emissions are caused by our activities in the lead-up to recent FIFA World Cups, and we recognized that a large part of our emissions comes from international flights.”
Lead image via Javier Ortega Figueiral