A new report has found that the effects of the accelerating climate emergency poses a threat to the future of sports events across the world.
The study, published by the Rapid Transition Alliance, also found that the sports industry itself is lacking when it comes to tackling its own emissions.
In the coming years, nearly every sport from American football to cricket, will face some form of disruption from rising sea levels, fires, floods, and heatwaves.
The carbon emissions from sports worldwide are estimated to be equal to the emissions of a medium-sized country.
The Rapid Transition Alliance also highlighted how sports stars and administrators themselves have a key role to play in the battle against the climate crisis.
Co-ordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance, Andrew Simms, said: “Sport provides some of society’s most influential role models. If sport can change how it operates to act at the speed and scale necessary to halt the climate emergency, others will follow.”
According to the report, within the next 30 years it will become increasingly difficult to organise the Winter Olympics due to rising temperatures. Closer to home, one in three British golf courses will face damage from rising sea levels, and there will be a high risk of flooding at a quarter of English league football stadiums each season.
The report also noted that the climate emergency was already having an adverse effect on major sports events across the world. This year’s Australian Tennis open was hampered by the toxic smoke coming from the country’s bushfires, whilst last year’s Rugby World Cup was disrupted by a massive typhoon.
Head of Green Recovery at Greenpeace, Rosie Rogers, said: “From flooding to sweltering heat, even sport can’t escape the climate emergency. But it’s also clear that the sector is playing a part in fuelling it.”
Commenting on how the sports industry could facilitate a ‘green’ recovery post-coronavirus, Rogers said: “Whether that’s switching planes for trains, ditching single use plastic or cutting fossil fuel sponsorship, sport can show it’s on the winning side as we take the climate crisis head on.”
David Goldblatt, the author of the report, said that the industry should be taking more action against climate change: “Few human practices offer such an extraordinarily large, global, and socially diverse constituency as those playing and following sport. Making a carbon-zero world the common sense priority of the sports world would make a huge contribution to making it the common sense priority of all politics.”
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