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 Sports For Climate Action Framework Launched At Cop24 

Date of Publish - Friday, 21st December 2018

The global sports fraternity remained oblivious, or so it seemed, while millions were out on the streets, demanding action on climate change. To leverage the popularity of sports to create awareness and action on climate change seemed like a distant dream for activists. In hindsight, we now know that efforts were on for at least a year to finalize a deal to involve the leading sports associations in addressing climate change.

One of the positive developments during the United Nations Climate Conference (COP24) at Katowice, Poland, was the launch of the Sports for Climate Action Framework to gather sports organizations, teams, athletes, and fans in a concerted effort to raise awareness and action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The sports sector and UN Climate Change collaboration took place on the margins of COP24 and featured a few of the founding signatories including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Sailing Federation, World Surf League, Forest Green Rovers Football Club, the French Tennis Federation (Roland Garros), and the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics committee.

Representatives of the diverse global sports industry and UN Climate Change created the Framework to drive emission reductions of sports operations and tap the popularity and passion of sport to engage millions of fans in the effort over the past year. The Framework has two overarching objectives- achieving a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change and using sports as a unifying tool to drive climate awareness and action among global citizens.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said at the launch, “You recognize that because you’ve built significant global trust and moral leadership, and because sports touches on every cross-section of society, you can drive positive change throughout the world. I’m here to encourage you to use your significant global leadership position to help us address the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.”

The International Olympic Committee and UN Climate Change have cooperated in the production of a climate action guide called “Sustainability Essentials: Sports for Climate Action” as a reference for sports federations and others, which was released during the launch of the Framework. The IOC also released a document, “Carbon Footprint Methodology for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games”, which provides detailed guidance to the Organizing Committees on how to measure the carbon footprint of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura declared that “Our commitment to protecting our climate remains unwavering. We recognize the critical need for everyone to help implement the Paris Agreement and accelerate the change needed to reach greenhouse gas emission neutrality in the second half of the twenty-first century. FIFA welcomes the UN’s development of the Sports for Climate Action Framework, and I am pleased to confirm that FIFA will support the vision outlined in the new framework.”

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said that “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the planet. UEFA firmly believes that football, with its strong and ever-growing environmental conscience, in particular in areas such as sustainable event management, has a duty to play a role in addressing this issue. This is why we are happy to have the opportunity to sign the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework.”

Sports produces climate-changing emissions in many ways, through associated travel, energy use, construction of venues, catering, and other ways. Sport administrators also recognizes the unique and unparalleled ability to inform and mobilize millions of people around a love of sport and admiration for their sport heroes. The launch of the Framework affirms that sports organizations recognize that they need to take an active part in achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement, climate neutrality by mid-century, and they see their climate efforts also contributing to the broader Sustainable Development Goals.

Author :
Rituraj Phukan


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