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World Cup visitors can have their carbon footprint offset for free

Source: Reuters - Wed, 30 Apr 2014 22:48 GMT
Author: Reuters
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A woman checks her cell phone next to graffiti referring to the 2014 World Cup at a slum in Rio de Janeiro, April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
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SAO PAULO, April 30 (Reuters) - Individuals who score tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but worried that the jet travel required to get to matches will contribute to global warming can rest easy.

FIFA, soccer's governing body, on Wednesday said it will cover the cost of programs to neutralize carbon emissions related to travel.

FIFA and BP Target Neutral, a not-for-profit carbon management program run by British energy company BP Plc, on Wednesday launched an online system where ticket holders worldwide can sign up to have their carbon footprints neutralized.

Participants will be entered in a contest to win a pair of tickets for the tournament's final.

"FIFA and the Local Organizing Committee will offset 100 percent of their own operational emissions, and through the campaign launched today, we are encouraging fans to neutralize the carbon emissions resulting from their travel to Brazil," said Federico Addiechi, head of FIFA Corporate Social Responsibility.

BP said it expects to have some 50,000 ticket holders joining the initiative.

The World Cup in continent-size Brazil will probably produce a record volume of carbon emissions for such events, mainly due to the traveling among venues, which in some cases are 5,000 kilometers apart.

Initial estimates have put total emissions of heat-trapping gases at 3.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), compared to around 2.7 million tonnes in South Africa four years ago.

FIFA said it will use offsets from Brazil-based projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

BP Target Neutral, which also worked on the program to partially neutralize the London Olympics emissions, is in charge of selecting those projects and will announce the chosen ones in June.

The program said that it should focus sustainable forest management, biomass energy in manufacturing and climate friendly power generation.

They will also look to include projects that reduce emissions by avoiding deforestation in areas holding vulnerable species, including the World Cup mascot, the Brazilian three banded armadillo.

BP said FIFA will offset the equivalent of 250,000 tonnes of CO2e to cover its operational needs, in addition to the volume that will come from the online system launched on Wednesday.

FIFA is sharing with the Brazilian government the responsibility to offset the event's carbon footprint.

Brazil announced two weeks ago a program to swap publicity in the event for carbon credits.

FIFA's offsetting web page can be found at: https://worldcupoffset.fifa.com

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira)

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