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7 Jun 2022

Sebastian Castelier, Independent (UK)

‘A climate crime’: Qatar plans for extra World Cup flights attacked by environmentalists

...Qatar has long claimed it will hold the “first carbon-neutral” tournament “in history”.

But that claim, say campaigners, is fatally undermined by the latest announcement on extra flights.

Julien Jreissati, programme director at Greenpeace Middle East and North Africa, called the announcement “a crime” and said it was the “final nail in the coffin” of Qatar’s carbon-neutral pledge.

“It is unlikely that the World Cup will be carbon neutral. I think this claim is greenwashing; it just lacks credibility,” Gilles Dufrasne, the investigation’s lead author, told The Independent.

“Instead of resorting to flying in people, Qatar should have developed further options of accommodation, away from five star hotels,” Jreissati says.

Offsetting emissions, a controversial practice marred by fraud and often lacking integrity, is central to Qatar’s carbon-neutrality claim. But it opted to set up its own standard to do so, with no independent third party to certify the quality of credits purchased to offset emissions.

World Cup 2022’s Greenhouse Gas accounting report “included a proportion of fans travelling from the GCC region to attend matches”, a Fifa spokesperson tells The Independent, adding changes compared to the assumptions of greenhouse gas emissions, including match-day shuttle flights, will be “considered” after the completion of the tournament and “fully offset”.