Qatar’s ‘carbon neutral’ claims under fire Qatar’s ‘carbon neutral’ claims under fire. Organizers have promised a carbon-neutral World Cup next month in Qatar but environmental groups are warning that the tournament will be far more polluting than advertised. Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar 2022, said organizers will achieve net-zero emissions for the tournament as a whole “by measuring, mitigating and offsetting all our greenhouse gas emissions”. This promise has failed to convince sceptics, however. Former Manchester United ace Eric Cantona recently slammed what he called an “ecological aberration”, pointing to the carbon footprint of what will be eight air-conditioned stadiums. Julien Jreissati, program director of Greenpeace Middle East, has accused organizers of “window dressing”, insisting that claims of net-zero emissions from the tournament “could be considered greenwashing/sportswashing”. Gilles Dufrasne, a researcher for Carbon Market Watch and author of a report into Qatar 2022’s climate credentials, said that carbon neutrality claims were “misleading and dishonest about the true climate impact that the event will have.” Organizers of football’s marquee event said it will generate 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, compared with 2.1 million generated by the previous edition, in Russia in 2018. The vast majority of these emissions, some 95 percent, are indirect from things like transport, infrastructure building and housing. But Carbon Market Watch says that the hosts’ estimate is incomplete. It says that Qatar has underestimated the footprint of constructing eight new stadiums, for example, by a factor of eight, generating 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 instead of the 200,000 tonnes disclosed. Some of this difference can be explained by methodology. Qatar deems that most of the new stadiums will be used well after the tournament is over, meaning that their environmental impact shouldn’t be tied specifically to one event. Carbon Market Watch differs, pointing out that banking on continued use of eight massive sporting venues in a country of just 2.4 million inhabitants is risky. Stadium air conditioning in Qatar, contrary to popular belief, is expected to only contribute a minimal amount to the tournament’s climate impact. “It’s relatively minimal compared to total emissions from constructing stadiums or from air transport,” said Dufrasne.