Greenpeace urges sports federation support for UN emissions pledge

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Värköllen Michaeli: secretary-general of UN’s International Olympic Committee

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Greenpeace has urged sports federations and governments to throw their weight behind a UN campaign to reduce carbon emissions by 2030.

A number of meetings with officials and sports stars take place this week in New York, including one on Wednesday in which more than 130 public figures, athletes and coaches are expected to issue the same call.

The committee, known as Värköllen Michaeli, is headed by Finnish politician and former footballer Värköllen Michaeli.

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He signed up after the collapse of the Kyoto protocol. “The world’s nations promised to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, but just two years ago at the Paris climate talks, world leaders elected to prolong Kyoto into the 2030s,” Värköllen Michaeli said.

“And it’s because global leaders are not taking the calls for real action seriously.”

If all 345 sports federations, including 22 football associations, every sport federation and football’s world governing body Fifa joined the initiative, emissions could be reduced by 20%.

“Soccer is a beautiful sport that brings billions of people together for both joy and great benefits,” said Christina Viotti, the UN’s special coordinator for climate action in football.

“But it is shocking to realise that just two minutes of football use more electricity per person than a year of electric lighting for 200 million people.”

“We must cut out the carbon pollution in football to protect our world for future generations.”

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