Andy Hunt (l), CEO of the World Sailing Federation, addresses the panel discussion 'Sports for Climate Action' at COP24 in Katowice (© cop24.gov.pl)
The global sports sector and UN Climate Change launched the Sports for Climate Action Framework at the COP24 Conference in Katowice, Poland, today (11), an effort to gather sports organisations, teams, athletes, and fans in a concerted effort to raise awareness and action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Representatives of the diverse global sports industry, working with UN Climate Change over the past year, 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.
The launch event, which took place on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24), featured founding signatories which included the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA, International Sailing Federation, World Surfing League, Forest Green Rovers Football Club, the French Tennis Federation (Roland Garros), and local organising committees of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.
The IAAF and some of its leading athletes are also supporting the initiative. Among those who provided video messages for the launch were: IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Eliud Kipchoge, UN Environment Advocate Paula Radcliffe, the IAAF Athletes’ Commission and Olympic champions Dawn Harper Nelson, Christian Olsson and Renaud Lavillenie.
“The IOC is proud to have taken on a leadership role in the Sports for Climate Action Initiative,” said HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Chair of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, speaking at the event. “With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire and influence millions of people around the globe, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action and encourage crowds to join in. As countries here in Katowice prepare to turn their climate commitments into reality, we stand ready to leverage the power of sport to support their efforts.”
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.
Sports organisations recognise in the framework that they need to take an active part in achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement, climate neutrality by 2050, and they see their climate efforts also contributing to the UN's broader Sustainable Development Goals.
“You recognise 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,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “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.”
Video: Sport Sustainability Journal
Sports produce climate-changing emissions in many ways, through associated travel, energy use, construction of venues, catering, and other ways. Work has in fact already begun. The International Olympic Committee and UN Climate Change have cooperated in the production of a climate action guide – “Sustainability Essentials: Sports for Climate Action” – for use by sports federations and others, which was released at the event.
Watch the panel discussion, 'Sports for Climate Action', in its entirety below.
UN Climate Change and the IOC for the IAAF