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A Reckoning For Renewables

How the 2022 World Cup Rebuilt a Market for Dodgy Carbon Credits

The global tournament has given a boost to a new Qatari organization that validates carbon offsets others won’t.

The Lusail Stadium in November.

The Lusail Stadium in November.

Photographer: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

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 organizers 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.