Tech to help green 2010

With days to go before the kick-off of the 2010 World Cup, a joint initiative to green the tournament and help reduce carbon emissions was unveiled in Johannesburg, yesterday.

The campaign is a result of a partnership between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

The initiative includes three major greening projects: renewable energy interventions in six World Cup host cities, an awareness campaign on green tourism, and a programme to offset the carbon emissions of 11 World Cup teams.

Supported by $1 million in GEF funding, one major project is the greening of public street lights, traffic lights and billboards around the stadiums of six host cities. These include municipalities in Tshwane (Pretoria), Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Rustenburg, and Bloemfontein.

A total of 12 billboards, two in each city, will switch to solar power, along with 60 traffic lights and 78 streetlights across the six host cities.

“Events like the World Cup present a unique opportunity to showcase environmentally sound technologies and practices,” said Monique Barbut, GEF chairperson and CEO.

“Our work with SA and UNEP to boost the level of renewable power generated in the six cities supporting the games will have a lasting local and global environmental impact long after the last whistle blows.”

The DEA, in collaboration with the departments of energy, tourism, the Central Energy Fund, and Eskom, as well as the Local Organising Committee, has identified five carbon offset projects to help offset travellers’ emissions. The projects include solar cookers, an LED energy-efficient lighting retrofit programme, wind energy, and domestic fire lighting, among others.

The identified offset projects will be linked to a carbon calculator, which will allow travellers to calculate and offset their emissions against an offset project of their choice.

The teams’ carbon footprint includes international flights to and from SA, domestic flights and coaches to and from group matches for teams and officials, and accommodation in hotels. This results in a total of approximately 6 050 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Following the World Cup, UNEP will conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment to review how environmental issues have been addressed by the tournament organisers.

The host cities’ green efforts will also be assessed to determine how greening solutions were delivered and whether they were successfully implemented.

An SMS campaign is being run in partnership with Foneworx and KPMG to generate funds towards offsetting the event’s carbon footprint. To participate in the campaign, SMS ‘GoGreen’ to 34066, SMSes are charged at R2.

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