Sports strive to be swifter, higher, lower-carbon in UN-led initiative

11 February 2009
Sochi Olympics, 2010 FIFA World Cup & Norwegian Sport Events Rally Behind the Climate Neutral Call

Major athletic events around the globe – from the 2014 Sochi Olympics to an annual powerboat race in Norwegian fjords – are striving to neutralize their carbon footprint as part of a world-wide climate network, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.

Launched a year ago, the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) led by UNEP today has close to 100 participants worldwide, including several countries, cities, major international companies, UN agencies and leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The sporting events are the latest participants to join the network, and are particularly important for inspiring further global action on the environment, said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.

“Whether carried out on track and field or on ice and snow, sporting events ignite the spirit of achievement in thousands of competitors and billions of spectators worldwide,” Mr. Steiner said.

“It is, therefore, heartening that this passion for excellence increasingly encompasses environmental performance, with sporting organizations raising the bar ever higher at each and every tournament,” he added.

Organizers of the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games – to be held in a unique natural setting between the shores of the Black Sea and the soaring snow-capped Caucasus Mountains – say they will put an estimated $1.75 billion into energy conservation and renewable energy.

That investment will be dedicated to improving transport infrastructure, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from the use of electricity, air travel and ground transportation, the reforestation of Sochi National Park and the development of green belts in the city.

The goal of the powerboat Grand Prix – the largest annual outdoor sporting event in Norway with more than 100,000 spectators – is to be a global champion of climate neutral boat sports, and to leave the legacy of sustainability to future generations, its sponsors say.

Other sports participants in CN Net include the 2010 World Cup of FIFA, the international football federation, to be held in South Africa and a golfing federation in Norway, UNEP said.


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