World Cup teams to offset emissions

LONDON (Reuters) - Over half of the soccer teams participating in the South African World Cup tournament will offset the carbon dioxide emissions they generate from travel and hotel stays, Swiss offsetter South Pole said on Friday.

The United Nations Environment Programme and the South African ministry of environment have launched an initiative to offset the emissions of the soccer teams, which are expected to generate 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per team, including coaching staff.

According to a study by the Norwegian and South African governments, the World Cup will result in 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is eight times as much as the World Cup 2006 in Germany.

This is mainly due to longer journey times by fans and players from around the world and the inefficient South African power grid, which still relies on coal.

Companies and individuals can reduce the impact of emissions by buying carbon offsets in the unregulated voluntary market from projects that cut greenhouse gas pollution.

So far, over half the participating teams are involved in the initiative, which consists of five emissions-reduction projects including a waste management project developed by South Pole near Cape Town. In the case of 18 participating teams, German sporting good maker PUMA will pay for the cost of offsetting, South Pole said. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Jane Baird)