By Malee Oot July 4, 2014
The feverishly followed games of the World Cup are thrilling soccer (or football) fans around the world. And although the games have an enthusiastic international following, the World Cup, and its organizing body, FIFA, are hardly without controversy. Even in soccer-loving Brazil, a number of protests have been sparked by the tournament, in large part drawing attention to the astronomical amount of energy and capital devoted to infrastructure to the World Cup, while many social programs remain underfunded.
Brazil is also a hub of biodiversity, and concerns about the environmental impact of the World Cup have also been raised—even by FIFA. In terms of the environmental impact, and particularly the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with staging the World Cup, FIFA has been proactive in attempting to neutralize the climate impact the games will have. But, is it actually possible to truly neutralize greenhouse gas emissions generated by a major international event on the scale of the World Cup?
Arguably, for their part, FIFA has certainly tried. Last June, FIFA presented a sustainability strategy for the World Cup in Brazil at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20), focusing specifically on preventing and offsetting emissions directly under FIFA’s control. According to Football for the Planet, FIFA’s environmental program, the World Cup in Brazil is expected to have a carbon footprint close to 2.7 million tons, of which, a quarter million are under FIFA’s operational control.