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胜负彩:How the World Cup rebuilt a market for carbon credits

时间:1周前   阅读:2

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Football festival: People take photos with the official FIFA World Cup countdown clock in Doha. Organisers have pledged to erase the event’s negative environmental impact. — AP

LONDON: For almost a decade, the small, gas-rich country of Qatar has been one giant construction site. In preparation to host the FIFA World Cup this November, it’s built seven stadiums, new roads and dozens of hotels. Between the emissions generated by the new construction plus air travel to transport players and fans, the 2022 tournament is shaping up to be the most carbon-intensive on record.

World Cup organisers have pledged to erase the event’s negative environmental impact. They plan to make the event “carbon neutral” by buying offsets – paying, in theory, for carbon to be removed or reduced from the earth’s atmosphere somewhere else.

In practice, the plan is deeply flawed. Qatar and FIFA not only aren’t mitigating the environmental impact of the event, they may be inadvertently magnifying it.

Specifically, they’ve said they want to buy some 1.8 million offsets from the Doha-based Global Carbon Council (GCC), bolstering a new, local organisation that signs off on the kinds of projects that fail to meet minimum standards anywhere else in the world.

GCC is certifying credits that “will make no difference whatsoever to global emissions,” said Gilles Dufrasne, a policy lead at the non-profit Carbon Market Watch and an expert advisor to the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market.

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“What GCC is offering here is at best ignorant, and at worst an obvious attempt to create more supply of low quality, low cost credits with an illusion of credibility.”

The problem, Dufrasne says, is that the projects that GCC approves can be tied to renewable energy developments in middle-income countries like India, Turkey and Serbia.

In the past, a solar, wind or hydroelectric plant could generate carbon credits on the basis that the additional revenue motivated developers to take steps to replace fossil fuel energy. Without the credits, the renewable energy projects wouldn’t get built.

That’s no longer the case in most countries. From 2010 to 2021, the cost of renewable power fell by almost 90%. Solar and wind power are in high demand.

Where developers don’t need an added incentive to build them, they shouldn’t generate credits that grant others license to pump new emissions into the atmosphere through, say, massive construction projects or air travel. With a few, limited exceptions, Dufrasne says, “issuing carbon credits to large renewable energy projects in 2022 goes against fundamental integrity rules of carbon markets.”

That’s why Verra and Gold Standard, the world’s two biggest certifiers of carbon offset projects, have refused grid-connected renewable energy projects in all but the poorest countries since 2019.

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