Sports for Climate Action: a deal between sports and UN Climate Change

by Chiara Aruffo

Sports for Climate Action is an initiative promoted by UN Climate Change, featuring also four Italian teams.

Sports for Climate Action has been launched in 2018 by the UN Climate Change Agency (UNFCCC), in the years following the drafting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. It is certainly not an easy task to quantify the impact of sport on climate change, as its magnitude depends on both the type of sport and the geographic context. For example, coastal erosion and rising sea levels endanger sports facilities built near the sea, while warmer winters and lack of snow cause damage (notonly economic) to mountain facilities located at low elevations. To try to contrast all this and raise awareness of climate change, the UNFCCC has decided – among other initatives – to focus on sport through Sports for Climate Action.

Objectives of Sports for Climate Action

Sports for Climate Action was created with two main goals:

  • align the global sport community to combat climate change through collaborations and concrete commitments, including measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the scenario outlined in the Paris Agreements to limit the rise in temperatures to within 2 degrees of pre-industrial levels;
  • using sport as a means to raise global awareness of climate change and encourage citizens to take action.

Five principles of Sports for Climate Action

Participants must sign a letter committing to adhere to the five core principles, and incorporate them into their strategies and procedures. Those five principles – as stated in the Sports for Climate Action framework – are:

  • Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  • Reduce overall climate impact;
  • Educate for climate action;
  • Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
  • Advocate for climate action through communication.

Participants of Sports for Climate Action

As of today, 269 sport organizations signed up to join Sport for Climate Action. Those entities encompass several sectors: there are international and national federations, sport teams and sport events. Italy is also featuring, since four sports clubs joined the initiatives: Juventus, Udinese calcio, HERO Südtirol Dolomites and ASD Città di Taormina.

Foto di copertina: UNFCCC/IOC

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