World Cup host nation Qatar said Tuesday it will count emissions produced from daily flights ferrying fans during the tournament between the Gulf emirates toward the event’s overall carbon footprint.
Qatar claims the monthlong tournament kicking off Sunday will be “carbon neutral,” but environmental experts have questioned how rigorous its plan to count and offset all the event’s emissions is.
There had been questions in recent months when airliners including Qatar Airways and FlyDubai said they would increase the number of daily flights between Doha and nearby Gulf cities to transport thousands of fans spending the night outside Qatar.
The host nation is smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut and does not have enough hotel rooms to accommodate the tournament’s more than 1.2 million expected fans.
Qatar’s environment minister Sheikh Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani told The Associated Press that the emissions of the daily flights would be counted.
Speaking in Egypt at the U.N. climate conference, Sheikh Faleh said he was certain Qatar would “lead the standard” in achieving a climate-friendly sporting event.
Qatar is one of the world’s top exporters of liquefied natural gas. Last year, it outlined a national climate change action plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.
Sheikh Faleh told delegates at the COP27 meeting that Qatar would continue “working to translate these ambitions to facts.”