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Fifa World Cup: Qatar’s promise of ‘carbon-neutral’ World Cup raises doubts

Organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have said the event will be football’s first ‘carbon neutral event of its kind.

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In the 12-year run-up to hosting the 2022 men’s World Cup soccer tournament, Qatar has been on a ferocious construction spree with few recent parallels.

It built seven of its eight World Cup stadiums, a new metro system, highways, high-rises and Lusail, a futuristic city that 10 years ago was mostly dust and sand.

For years, Qatar promised something else to distinguish this World Cup from the rest: It would be ‘carbon-neutral,’ or have a negligible overall impact on the climate. And for almost as long, there have been sceptics — with outside experts saying Qatar and FIFA’s plan rests on convenient accounting and projects that won’t counteract the event’s carbon footprint as they advertise.

“It’s not very helpful for this type of event to market itself as carbon-neutral,” said Gilles Dufrasne, a researcher at the Brussels-based non-governmental organization Carbon Market Watch, which authored a report questioning Qatar’s sustainability plan. “It gives the impression that we can build massive state-of-the-art stadiums … and fly people from all over the world to watch football matches and that’s somehow compatible with reaching climate targets.”

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