Qatar Airways CEO saves 160 extra daily flights for ‘climate-neutral’ World Cup

Qatar Airways announced on Thursday that it has partnered with a regional carrier to allow World Cup ticket holders to fly to Doha and return from neighboring countries for just days. Climate supporters say the decision flew in the face of the tournament’s sustainable goals.

“People don’t believe in just saying negative things [things]Akbar al-Baqer told CNN’s Becky Anderson in an interview on Monday that he was confident the flights would be completed.

“[We] There are far fewer emissions than ordinary airlines, which fly most of the other airlines, “he said, including long-haul flights.

He did not elaborate on how the plane’s emissions would be lower than others, but the airline’s website says it uses “one of the youngest fleets in the sky” and has implemented 70 fuel optimization programs. Aviation is a major contributor to man-made climate change. Qatar’s economy is oil-based and has the world’s largest per capita carbon footprint.

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Prior to Thursday’s announcement, organizers had estimated a carbon footprint for the tournament with more than 3.6 million metric tons of CO2, more than half of which would come from traveling supporters. Emissions from the new daily flights from Dubai, Muscat, Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait will add to the current estimate.

In response to a question from CNN, FIFA stated that its previous carbon footprint estimates were published in February 2021 and that the actual differences would be resolved once the tournament was over.

Qatar says it will offset emissions by “investing in green projects” – a common way for companies and individuals to undo the impact of their footprints. The organizers have set up a “Global Carbon Council” whose responsibility is to “identify quality projects”.

Climate experts, however, highlight the limitations of offsetting programs such as arboriculture, arguing that they are overused and sometimes exaggerated to allow for normal emissions from fossil fuels such as business.
The official symbol of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has been unveiled in Doha on 3 September.
Carbon Market Watch released a report on Tuesday stating that the World Cup’s carbon credit plan supports projects with “low levels of environmental integrity” and has so far issued only 130,000 credits out of the promised 1.8 million. The World Cup is scheduled to start at the end of November.

The Carbon Market Watch report further claims that FIFA’s estimated carbon emissions for the tournament have been grossly underestimated, criticizing the “choice of accounting method”.

Commenting on the report, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is responsible for the event, said in its commitment to carbon neutrality it was “conjectural and wrong to come to a conclusion”.

“The method used to calculate the carbon-neutral commitment is the best in practice and was designed based on actual activity data after the FIFA World Cup,” it said in a statement sent to CNN in response to a question. “It will be disclosed, and any inconsistencies will be explained and offset.”

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FIFA also responded to the report and defended its own accounting system, saying that it was based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a widely used standard.

It added that it “did not confuse its stakeholders” and was “fully aware of the risks that mega-events pose to the economy, the natural environment and the people and communities.”

In a September press release, the event’s Qatari organizers said one of the advantages of hosting the World Cup was the “compact nature” of their country. Short distances between stadiums will negate the need for domestic air travel for fans and reduce the carbon footprint of the tournament. It said air travel was “recognized as one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the world.”

But there are growing concerns that the small country of less than 3 million people will not be able to cope with so many fans. This will reduce the need for high-end accommodation for visitors to fly in and out in one day.

Al-Baker, however, said there were plans to run additional flights to shuttle people for the day only.

“His Highness the Amir always wanted to share the benefits of this tournament with our neighbors,” he said.

“This is possible because, first and foremost, we have good state-of-the-art facilities. They process people very quickly. We also have extensive transportation facilities, including the metro,” said Al Baker.

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