Qatar 2022: A Carbon Free World Cup?

At approximately 10:45 AM EST Thursday, FIFA (Soccer's international governing body) announced Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup. The announcement, which shocked people around the world, came minutes after Russia was announced as the World Cup 2018 host.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="377" caption="Qatar recieves the 2022 World Cup (From the AP)"][/caption]

The announcement has not been without controversy. From questions about strong cultural differences and laws to the heat and overcrowding. Not to mention size issues - Qatar is a small nation of only 1.6 million people. Richard Spencer of The Times (UK) wrote about the cultural controversy surround Qatar, "I wonder if today’s decision might have come at just the wrong time."

The news Planet Forward is concerned about, though, is air conditioning. Specifically, how Qatar will shield its Summer temperatures that reach well over 100° from fans and players. Qatar says it will air condition all of its stadiums and most of its fan areas.

This air conditioning will be powered by solar panels on the stadiums themselves. It is a $50 billion project designed by a German firm, Büro Albert Speer & Partner. The air conditioning system will reduce temperatures inside the stadium to 27°C, which will be a much more bearable temperature for both fans and players.

According to Al-Jazeera, "solar thermal collectors on the stadium roof will transfer and store energy which on match days will chill water, creating cold air that will be delivered into the stadium and on to the pitch through slots in the seats." When the stadium is not in use, "The system will continuously export energy to the Qatar electric grid, enabling the stadiums to be carbon neutral."

In addition to the stadiums, Qatar is planning 320km of metro rail lines to accommodate fans and boost their public transportation infrastructure. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup may have come as a shock the world, but it appears they plan on pulling out all the stops. Can these stadiums be carbon neutral? If they really are willing to invest all that money, and it from the looks if it they are, then they just might pull it off.

As a fan pulling for the United States to receive 2022, I'm a bit gutted, but these lavish Qatari plans have certainly piqued my interest. Can they pull it off? I hope so. Perhaps Qatar will lay the groundwork for making the world's biggest sporting event a truly green occasion.

What do you think? Upset about Qatar hosting the World Cup? Happy to see the world's biggest sporting event expanding to the Middle East? Are carbon neutral stadiums really possible? Is this just a lavish display that cannot be applied elsewhere?  Share your thoughts below...

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