Football World Cup goes carbon neutral

The MyClimate foundation is to offset global warming-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This makes it the largest climate impact neutral events in the world, and one of the largest “carbon offset” projects to date.

Though offsetting event GHG emissions is a relatively new concept, FIFA acknowledges that an event such as the World Cup leads to the release of thousands of tons of GHG emissions that significantly affects the climate, primarily through spectator and participant air and land travel.

FIFA also took into consideration spectator and participant energy use while attending the event since Germany generates a large proportion of its energy through fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

By investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that lead to the avoidance of emissions, greater or equal to the amount of emissions generated by the event, FIFA organizers offset the global warming impacts of the event - making it carbon impact neutral.

Specifically, MyClimate selected two CDM Gold Standard (the benchmark for international offsets) projects for offsetting 2006 World Cup emissions, a fuel-switching project in the Limpopo Province, and a biogas project in the Johannesburg area, both in South Africa.


“The negative impact on climate change is balanced with excellent projects in South Africa. Not only do they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the projects also lead to South African economic empowerment opportunities and local environmental protection,” explains Peter D. Krahenbuhl, STI Vice President and Managing Director of the MyClimate program in North America. “The fact that the World Cup is carbon impact neutral is yet another reason for everyone to enjoy the event. Since MyClimate specializes in purchasing carbon credits and offsetting GHG emissions, it’s an honor to have been contracted for this project on behalf of the World Cup.”
The first project involves African Realty Trust, South Africa’s largest producer and processor of citrus. The company will have its existing coal-fired boilers replaced, enabling them to instead burn sawdust from surrounding sawmills. The project will minimize waste, reduce GHG emissions and foster sustainable development in the area. WSP Energy, through its subsidiary WSP BioTherm, an international developer of clean and renewable energy projects, is the implementation partner for this project.
The African Realty Trust currently uses coal to generate steam for various processes at its facility. Marius de Bruyn, Managing Director of African Realty Trust, South Africa’s largest single producer of citrus fruits, explains, “We have a business critically dependent on a stable climate with a significant international profile and substantial exports. It’s important that we do whatever we can to keep our production process as environmentally friendly as possible. The switch from coal to biomass fuel boilers, which can burn sawdust, will substantially reduce emissions and soot at our facility.”
The second project includes the recovery of methane emissions from a wastewater treatment plant in the Johannesburg area. Methane is even more dangerous to the climate than carbon dioxide. The biogas is used to generate clean electricity. Besides contributing to climate protection, the project creates jobs in a disadvantaged region.
“We’re delighted to be involved in this project to make the 2006 World Cup carbon neutral, which is an excellent opportunity for South Africa, particularly in light of it being the 2010 World Cup host,” said Charles Liebenberg, Managing Director of WSP BioTherm in London. “The project utilizes well-proven technology not only to reduce coal consumption, but also to avoid methane gas produced by stockpiling sawdust and will prevent at least 220,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over its ten-year lifetime. Commissioning of the new biomass fuel boilers is planned for August 2007.”