NewsThe journey of the ball kicks off
Last week Spirit of Football and Cool Down, the Sport for Climate Action Network, kicked off The Ball on its epic journey towards the 2023 Women’s World...
Cool Down is a network including many members of our Alliance, working to help sports lead the way on rapid transition. We believe that sport and the climate emergency are inseparable.
If your organisation would like to join the Cool Down network please register your interest in the form below and we will be in touch.
We’ve teamed up with lots of people such as the BBC to raise the challenges facing international sport in things like elite football competitions. And there are lots of stories of evidence based hope on this site including how one small football club is leading the way on a sporting transition.
⬆The Cool Down network and Spirit of Football organised a fairplay football tournament at COP26 in Glasgow to bring people together to talk about climate change.⬆
A new report from Badvertising and New Weather Sweden identifies a minimum of 107 high carbon sponsorship deals within winter sports, despite its increasing vulnerability to climate change and rising global temperatures.Download the report
A new briefing from Badvertising sets out the main issues with relying on offsetting to achieve emissions reductions and other sustainability goals.Find out more
We need a sporting hope in the face of the climate emergency. Upheaval in the climate is already taking its toll on global sport. Crises face every activity from winter and water sports to grass pitches, stadiums and hard courts. Climate breakdown means heatwaves and heat strokes for players and public alike, extreme weather that floods stadiums and grassroots playing fields; sea level rises that will inundate football grounds and sweep away golf links.
In 2019, the Rugby World Cup was disrupted by unprecedented pacific typhoons; in early 2020, the Australian Tennis Open was disrupted by the smoke blowing in from the country’s devastating bush fires. Even before the pandemic changed the date, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were forced to move long distance running events north of the capital as the city’s sweltering summer weather now makes them impossible to run.
Global sport’s carbon emissions at the higher end of estimates are as large as Spain or coal-burning Poland. And the Australian Tennis Open of 2021, just a year after being disrupted by smoke from firestorms, was sponsored by at least three major polluters. Some action and innovation is under way, but nowhere does it match the scale and speed demanded by climate science.
Football and the climate emergency – RMC Sport video by London correspondent Johan Honnet
Sports’ environmental governance needs overhauling and sport itself needs reimagining by 2030 to fit into a zero carbon global economy. It is no longer tenable, for example, for sport through sponsorship to be a billboard for major polluters. Like every other industry and cultural sector, global sport was brought to a shuddering halt by the coronavirus pandemic – but it has an opportunity now to build back better, for the benefit of both athletes and supporters.
Every four years, The Ball kicks off from its “Mount Olympus”, Battersea Park in London, where the very first game of modern rules football took place in 1864. The Ball celebrates this moment because it gave rise to a common set of rules which enable the whole world to play together. The Ball’s destination is the Opening Ceremony of the FIFA World Cup.The Ball is a symbol of tradition, fair play and respect and a celebration of football’s capacity to bring people together all over the world and unite around equality and climate action.Follow the journey of the Ball
Sport provides some of society’s most influential role models. If it changes others will follow. If its players speak out and say they believe that clean air and a stable climate matter, millions more will see the possibilities for change. It will not only send a message of hope for the wider world, but it will help to guarantee a planet that is safe for sport. We are already deep into extra time. According to the IPCC, if we are to mitigate the worst aspects of climate change then we need to cut the great majority of carbon reductions in the next decade. Sport can help us win – offering vital and visionary climate action leadership.
As part of a broad and growing global alliance we will learn and share ways for sport to act on the climate emergency. Everyone has something to offer, and we all have a role to play. The voices of those most vulnerable to the climate emergency and who are least responsible for the problem find it hardest to be heard and we will work to amplify them. We recognise that the time for action is now.