Despite predictions that the 2010 World Cup will generate over two million tonnes of carbon emissions, there are no official plans as yet to offset these emissions and reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) estimates that offsetting carbon emissions for 2010 would cost between $6.8 and $12 million, while offsetting international travel would double this amount.
In a newspaper advert published on 27 February, DEAT estimated the total figure for carbon emissions for 2010 as 850,000 tonnes, with an additional 1,4 million tonnes contributed by international travel.
The biggest contributors of carbon emissions are the air travel and hotel industries.
International travel accounted for more than 65% of the carbon footprint, followed by intercity travel and energy use in accommodation at 17% and 13%, said the DEAT advert.
“As part of a broader greening programme, offsetting the carbon emissions arising from the 2010 FIFA World Cup will ensure that the World Cup leaves a green legacy that will be replicated in future events,” the advert concluded.
Mark Borchers, Technical Director of Sustainable Energy Africa, said the event was going to generate “a whole lot of carbon dioxide, no matter what you do”.
But he said there were ways of offsetting emissions to achieve carbon neutral status by recognizing what the carbon output was going to be and arranging for carbon reductions somewhere else.
“For instance, if the City of Cape Town calculates that there will be 200 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted, they could decide to install so many solar water heaters on low-cost houses, which over time will eventually save 200 000 tonnes of carbon emissions,” said Borchers.
He said Germany had to a certain extent been successful in making the 2006 event carbon neutral by using sewage gas methane to generate electricity.
“We have been trying to encourage DEAT and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to launch a national offset programme but neither seem to be intending to for this event,” he said.
Borchers maintains it is “an obligation” for offset programmes to be in place at a national level.
“It’s not as if they couldn’t get it together. It’s just not happening,” he said.
DEAT Director of Policy Coordination Dorah Nteo said based on carbon footprint calculations that had just been completed they were “currently working on a viable offset system that can be implemented before, during and post-2010″.
Nteo said the department was “pondering” whether or not the system would be mandatory.
Jeunesse Park, founder of Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), which offers offset services, said she had heard “nothing” from companies wishing to offset their emissions for 2010.
“They all should, we could do offsets for all of them that would also benefit local communities.”
Park said it was a simple matter of funding.
“It wouldn’t be painful for anyone, we do all the work and there is a massive demand for trees.”
But she said they needed to be approached by companies before they could do anything.
FTFA has had an arrangement, Project Green, with local airline Kulula since 2008. The project allows a person the option of donating between R10 and R200 as they book online. The money contributes to offsetting the emissions produced during their flight and FTFA then uses the money to plant trees in disadvantaged areas.
Park said 50 000 people had done this and “about half a million trees have been planted”.
Tim Hill, Senior Account Manager at the Protea Hotel Group said there was “no formal policy in place” on carbon emissions.
But a workshop being held next month would address environmental issues, using one of their properties as a case study to calculate emissions and “put plans in place to offset them”.
Emirates Airlines, the official carrier for the World Cup, could not be reached for comment. — West Cape News