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Carbon 'offsets' for World Cup in Qatar, explained
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Qatar’s Secretary General Hassan Al-Thawadi on the economic opportunities from hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha.
Qatar has said the upcoming soccer World Cup will be the first to be ‘carbon-neutral.' In theory, that means the monthlong tournament hosted by the small Gulf Arab nation will have a trivial effect on the climate. It's a bold claim for a country that spent the past 12 years building seven new stadiums, hotels, high-rises and roads for the event.
Key to Qatar's plan are carbon offsets intended to cancel out the greenhouse gases emitted before and during the tournament.
A look at how carbon credit arrangements work.
WHAT ARE CARBON OFFSETS?
Companies, governments and individuals buy offsets, or allowances, to reduce their carbon footprints. The basic idea behind the multibillion-dollar market is that emissions from polluting human activities can be counteracted elsewhere, using farming practices that store carbon, planting trees, or by preventing the escape of climate-changing gases from equipment.
Allowances, credits and offsets all refer to the same thing. One offset corresponds to one metric ton of carbon dioxide that is avoided, removed or absorbed.
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Offsets have rapidly grown in popularity with governments using them to reach climate goals, companies incorporating them into ‘net-zero’ plans, and individuals buying them to cancel out climate pollution from air travel.
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There are two kinds of offset markets: voluntary and mandatory, or compliance. Individuals and companies purchase credits on the voluntary market while governments use compliance or cap-and-trade schemes to set legally binding limits on carbon emissions for industries like oil, transportation, electricity and landfills. Companies or other entities have a choice: They can pollute less, or they can spend money and buy credits in compliance markets — such as the European Union Emissions Trading System — to stay below emissions caps.
For this year's World Cup, Qatar has pledged to voluntarily buy credits to offset all the emissions from the games.
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