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If Qatar can silence critics with a strong tournament

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Hosting the World Cup is what many countries dream of, but hosting does not come without its drawbacks. It is a very costly event with no guarantees on economic return.

Any country that hosts the World Cup must meet strict infrastructure requirements, amongst many other standards required by all. These minimum requirements include criteria for all infrastructures, stadiums, hotels, transit, and communications and electrical grids. Despite all that is allowed by the accumulated petrodollars, fans could face accommodation shortages.  

For that, Qatar will make a newly built and yet to be completed City in the Desert available for the event. Meanwhile, here is another aspect of the fothcoming tournament.

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World Cup 2022: if Qatar can silence critics with a strong tournament, an Olympic bid could be next

By Leon Davis, Teesside University and Dan Plumley, Sheffield Hallam University

The above image is for illustration and is of beIN SPORTS.

A prize for the taking. Shutterstock/fifg

When FIFA picked Qatar as the first Middle Eastern country to host the men’s football World Cup in 2022, some considered it a bold gamble. Others thought it was a mistake – including former FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Since then, controversy has never been far from a mega-event which is now less than a year away. Aside from allegations of bribery during the bidding process, there have been serious concerns raised about human rights, with particular focus on the migrant workers building the new stadia.

Whether these issues will ultimately dissuade supporters from travelling to Qatar in late 2022 remains to be seen. The organisers will certainly not want a repeat of what happened when Qatar hosted the IAAF World Athletics Championships of 2019, which took place in half empty stadia.

Football has more global appeal than athletics, of course, and so far both Qatar and FIFA remain bullish that millions of fans will travel to the Gulf from all over the world. The event is certainly “unique” in sport event terms and that may drive fan interest. No expense has been spared by Qatar to deliver this unique experience, that is for sure. They have certainly spent big in the lead up to the tournament.

Even as early as 2010, estimates of the total cost for Qatar were in the region of US$65 billion (£48 billion) – a different level to the then record-breaking US$14 billion which Russia spent hosting the tournament in 2018. More recent reports, however, cite costs closer to US$300 billion.

The reason for such staggering sums is not just grandeur. The actual stadium costs, at around US$10 billion, are low in relation to the overall estimated total. The bulk of the money has been spent on infrastructure and transport projects in the country. Some of these were planned anyway, with the forthcoming tournament merely accelerating developments.

Different goals

There is also a bigger picture at play here. In many ways, it has never been about the money for Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world.

The primary gains Qatar is seeking are non-commercial, with international relations at their heart, and and an opportunity to introduce itself to billions of people across the world. This has led to accusations of “sportswashing”. This can be defined as using sporting events as a way of seeking legitimacy or improving reputations and has been used in the context of Qatar 2022 given the controversies cited above.

Despite the negative press, Qatar will be encouraged by its latest foray into major international sporting events, including the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix in Formula One. The race was the first of a three-part Middle-East finale to the F1 season which also includes races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. This could help place Qatar on a comparable level to its Arab neighbours in another very marketable sport.

Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar. EPA-EFE/ NOUSHAD THEKKAYIL

Events like these, alongside the 2022 men’s World Cup, are designed to provide a legacy both socially and culturally – a legacy which creates national identity and places Qatar as a legitimate actor on the world stage.

Yet although money may be no object to the hosts, one organisation hoping to make some is FIFA. Their entire business model is geared around a successful World Cup. Russia 2018 helped FIFA to generate record revenues of US$6.4 billion, much of which is spent on “education and development”, and it will be hoping for similar takings from Qatar 2022. In the same way, FIFA’s (widely condemned) proposals to hold the tournament every two years are largely driven by the desire for more income.

So while the goals for Qatar and FIFA are different, both parties need the rest of the world to play ball. It’s worth bearing in mind that to make this happen, the majority of men’s domestic professional football leagues have altered their schedules to allow the 2022 competition to be staged, for the first time ever, in the months of November and December.

If the timing works, and Qatar’s non-commercial plans are achieved, it will then surely aim to become a regular major player in the sports event hosting market – so expect to see a bid to host a future Olympic Games. Money again here will be no object. Qatar will no doubt put on a show for the World Cup. A show that it hopes the rest of the world will be watching.

Leon Davis, Senior Lecturer in Events Management, Teesside University and Dan Plumley, Senior Lecturer in Sport Finance, Sheffield Hallam University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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People-powered resilience: Andalusia announces new climate action plan

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People-powered resilience: Andalusia announces new climate action plan as per Climate-KIC should be considered a leader by example, be extended and therefore generalised to the neighbouring regions, i.e. the MENA countries. Mainly for better consequent outcome, if only, in the concerned region in this article.

The region’s climate action plan has been announced, with the Forging Resilience in Andalusia project, a chapter of the EIT Climate-KIC Deep Demonstration Resilient Regions programme, bringing much to the process. 

Andalusia is the southernmost region of Spain. Covering 800 kilometres of coastline, it’s a region famed for its sunshine, beaches, rugged mountains, tourism and agricultural history.

Andalusia is less-known for its ambition to be a world leader in resilience and adaptation; a goal partly borne from necessity because, due to its geographical and climatic conditions, Andalusia is witnessing the worsening impacts of climate change on its territory.

The region is experiencing an increasing number of droughts and wildfires, and oppressive heatwaves during the summer months. In September, the region was hit with destructive flooding, with over 11cm of rain falling in Huelva in just one hour.

Mitigation and adaptation to climate change have consequently been priorities for the Andalusian Government, and on October 13th the Governing Council approved the Andalusian Climate Action Plan 2030 (PAAC 2030), making Andalusia the first Spanish community to approve plans in line with the new state law on climate change.

Risks and forging resilience 

The Forging Resilience in Andalusia project, or Forjando Resiliencia en Andalucía, is co-financed by EIT Climate-KIC and part of the Deep Demonstration Resilient Regions programme. The programme contributed to the PAAC 2030 process by developing sectoral and multisectoral workshops in 2020 which collectively assessed the different climate risks in Andalusia, and co-designed a portfolio of actions for resilience and adaptation.

Identifying the dangers, impacts and vulnerabilities of climate change impacts on areas, and prioritising specific risks that need to be addressed in different regional environments, is a critical part of building resilience and will ultimately enable local and regional communities to better manage shocks and stresses caused by climate change.

The results of the sectoral workshops were analysed, and a series of preliminary conclusions were drawn up, with the main vulnerabilities identified based on the demand and availability of water. Extraction of water from aquifers, extraction wells, water reserves and lack of water were all highlighted in the PAAC chapter focusing on adaptation, which drew on the conclusions of the workshop. Other risks mentioned included intense rainfall, increasing sea levels and subsequent erosion, and extreme weather events like floods and heat waves, plus the knock-on potential social impacts of all these events, like unemployment or depopulation.

But with vulnerabilities differing right down to the provincial level, the local aspect cannot be overlooked”, said Maria Lopez Sanchís from General Directorate of Environmental Quality and Climate Change, Junta de Andalucia.

Our process also identified hazards and impacts taking into account territorial differences,” said Lopez Sanchís. “This will be more relevant in the different operational programmes of the PAAC, because the plan urges different areas to incorporate the territorial perspective in the risk assessments and definition of adaptation measures whenever possible. To build true resilience, we have to deeply consider geographical differences and the specific characteristics that determine the vulnerability of each territory’s exposure to climate hazards. Then we need to place special emphasis on the most vulnerable spaces.”

People power towards a better scenario  

The role of the workshops however wasn’t only to analyse the current risks, but also to look forward to how an ideal scenario for Andalusia could look. This meant identifying the levers of change that need to be engaged for that to be achieved and drawing up a roadmap of innovation options and portfolio priorities.

As well as analysing the current situation, we also carried out an exercise to determine the ideal climate change scenario,” said Lopez Sanchís. “We want to look to the future and identify the levers of change that will allow us to define the means by which we can achieve a more resilient Andalusia,” she said. Lopez Sanchís added that a number of the levers identified to help Andalusia reach this goal are included in the PAAC report, including ecosystem management and land-use planning, but also people-powered interventions like education and behavioural change.

In building this vision, citizen engagement is critical,” said Lopez Sanchís. “Through our different online workshops, we carried out a process of public participation aligned with the consultation and public exposure phase of the Andalusian Climate Action Plan.

Both formal and informal education, as well as behavioural change, and political, social, cultural and ecological decisions are all addressed in the new climate plan, as is the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, which means rethinking our ways of life, how we buy and what we consume.

“The people piece is recognised as one of the required ‘adaptation dimensions’ in order to achieve the adaptation objectives set by the PAAC,” said Lopez Sanchís. “To meet the challenge of climate change, and to build resilience and adapt, yes, we need to recognise and analyse the threats, but then we also need to take whole communities with us as we develop a roadmap of innovation that will enable us to survive and thrive. Only people can make the PAAC happen.”

EIT Climate-KIC is proud to be a partner of the UN High Level Champion’s Race to Resilience campaign, which is working to step-up global ambition for climate resilience in the run-up to COP26 and beyond. 

For more on the Race to Resilience partners and initiatives, or how to get involved, see here.

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Global index for measuring resilience to climate risk launched

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GRII will provide a globally consistent model for the assessment of resilience across all sectors and geographies. It is about a Global index for measuring resilience to climate risk that is launched as perhaps one of the most substantial outcomes of the COP26.

COP26: Global index for measuring resilience to climate risk launched

Jyoti Mukul  |  New Delhi Last Updated at November 9, 2021.


GRII could enable asset owners to compare portfolio risks across geographies and hazards, as well as helping countries to prioritise national adaptation investments.

Ten global organisations with partial funding and in-kind contributions from the insurance sector and partner institutions have launched a Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII) at COP26.

GRII will provide a globally consistent model for the assessment of resilience across all sectors and geographies. The GRII will be using cross-sector risk modelling experience, including public-private partnerships between governments, academia, insurance and engineering.

Mark Carney, UN special envoy on climate action and finance, Mami Mizutori, assistant secretary-general and special representative of the secretary general for disaster risk reduction in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Eric Andersen, president, Aon, are the patrons for the.

Among the organisations that have come together to launch GRII are United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Insurance Development Forum (IDF), University of Oxford, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) and UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) and British risk and insurance advisory company Willis Towers Watson.

According to Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and CGFI advisory board, the heatwave in Vancouver, the floods in Germany, the polar vortex in Texas and the drought in Madagascar over the last one year had shown the horrifying human costs of climate change. “By making our systems and economies more resilient to climate disruption we can save millions of lives and livelihoods. To inject pace into this vital agenda we need adaptation and resilience to be clearly understood by governments, businesses and communities. The Global Resilience Index Initiative helps deliver that,” said Boyd.

GRII will be a curated, open-source resource offering high level metrics across the built environment, infrastructure, agriculture and societal exposures with many potential applications in aggregated risk management worldwide, said a press statement. “The mission of the GRII is to address the data emergency that is contributing to the climate crisis by helping sectors across the global economy quantify the value of building climate resilience and the costs of doing nothing,” it said.

GRII could enable asset owners to compare portfolio risks across geographies and hazards, as well as helping countries to prioritise national adaptation investments.

The coalition behind the GRII is seeking to achieve two initial goals offer global open reference risk data using metrics built on insurance risk modelling principles; provide shared standards and facilities applicable to a wide range of uses, including corporate climate risk disclosure, national adaptation planning and reporting, and the planning of pre-arranged humanitarian finance.

According to Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, GRII can play an important role by creating a shared understanding of mounting physical climate risks. “In turn, this will help close the insurance protection gap and direct investment and aid to where they are needed the most,” he said.

Mizutori said GRII has the potential to support all sectors in the management of adaptation and resilience, but action and support is required from the private and public sectors to further globalise the initiative. “The next steps are to ensure that countries are able to make full use of the GRII’s potential, particularly at the strategic risk assessment stage, and support governments in making critical climate investment decisions,” he said.

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Reduce Emissions and Combat Climate Change

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“In order to reduce emissions and combat climate change, we need to stop throwing money at dirty fossil fuel projects,” said Markey, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s panel on climate change, clean air, and nuclear safety.

The article and the above image of Common Dreams in an article by Jessica Corbett illustrate well our present-day situation. Would by any chance these words be of any interest to the leaders of the MENA region countries?

Meanwhile, Building magazine NEWS reported that Global warming is a design issue we can solve, per Foster, a renowned British architect.

By Elizabeth Hopkirk, 5 November 2021

Architect made comments at COP26 summit

Norman Foster (left) and John Kerry at the  COP26 conference in Glasgow

The climate crisis is a design issue that we have the brains to solve, Norman Foster told an event at COP26 in Glasgow.

Speaking alongside former US secretary of state John Kerry, the architect revealed how he first became interested in environmental concerns in the 1960s.

The pair – who are neighbours in Martha’s Vineyard, the New England holiday island favoured by the rich and famous – were the keynote guests at a breakfast organised by C40, a global network of mayors.

Foster was asked why architects and urban planners had allowed cities to become clogged with traffic.

“We ignored the lessons of history,” he said adding the post-war rise of the car had encouraged sprawl.

“I think we are rediscovering the benefits of traditional cities and the importance of the infrastructure,” he said. “I’m an architect but I’m probably more passionate as an urbanist about the DNA of a city, the urban glue that binds all the buildings together – the boulevards, the plazas, the public spaces, the bridges, the connections – that’s what determines the quality of urban life and that’s where the investment should go.”

He added: “Global warming is a design issue. We have the ability, we have the brains, we have the technology.”

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Good omens hard to find as global climate talks open

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By Mark John and Katy Daigle, REUTERS. it is about how Good omens are hard to find as global climate talks open.

Summary

  • COP26 aims to secure tougher measures to cut CO2 emissions
  • Conference set to begin with afternoon speeches
  • Weekend G20 summit failed to set positive tone for COP26
  • Thunberg urges leaders: ‘Face up to climate emergency now’

GLASGOW, Nov 1 (Reuters) – World leaders began arriving on Monday at a U.N. conference critical to averting the most disastrous effects of climate change, their challenge made even more daunting by the failure of major industrial nations to agree ambitious new commitments.

The COP26 conference in the Scottish city of Glasgow opens a day after the G20 economies failed to commit to a 2050 target to halt net carbon emissions – a deadline widely cited as necessary to prevent the most extreme global warming.

Instead, their talks in Rome only recognised “the key relevance” of halting net emissions “by or around mid-century”, set no timetable for phasing out coal at home and watered down promises to cut emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg asked her millions of supporters to sign an open letter accusing leaders of betrayal.Report ad

“As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency,” she tweeted. “Not next year. Not next month. Now.”

Many of those leaders take to the stage in Glasgow on Monday to defend their records and in some cases make new pledges at the start of two weeks of negotiations that conference host Britain is billing as make-or-break.Report ad

“Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell the opening ceremony, according to advance excerpts of his speech.

“If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”

DISCORD

Discord among some of the world’s biggest emitters about how to cut back on coal, oil and gas, and help poorer countries to adapt to global warming, will not make the task easier.

At the G20, U.S. President Joe Biden singled out China and Russia, neither of which is sending its leader to Glasgow, for not bringing proposals to the table.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, on board Air Force One with Biden, said Glasgow could put pressure on those who had not yet stepped up, but that it would not end the global effort.

“It is also critical for us to recognise that the work is going to have to continue after everyone goes home,” he told reporters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is by far the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and ahead of the United States, will address the conference on Monday in a written statement, according to an official schedule.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, one of the world’s top three oil producers along with the United States and Saudi Arabia, has dropped plans to participate in any talks live by video link, the Kremlin said. read more

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will also stay away. Two Turkish officials said Britain had failed to meet Ankara’s demands on security arrangements and protocol. read more

PROMISES, PROMISES

Delayed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels – a level scientists say would avoid its most destructive consequences.

To do that, it needs to secure more ambitious pledges to reduce emissions, lock in billions in climate-related financing for developing countries, and finish the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries.

Existing pledges to cut emissions would allow the planet’s average surface temperature to rise 2.7C this century, which the United Nations says would supercharge the destruction that climate change is already causing by intensifying storms, exposing more people to deadly heat and floods, raising sea levels and destroying natural habitats.

Developed countries confirmed last week that they would be three years late in meeting a promise made in 2009 to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries by 2020. read more

“Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions, but Africans are suffering the most violent consequences of the climate crisis,” Ugandan activist Evelyn Acham told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

“They are not responsible for the crisis, but they are still paying the price of colonialism, which exploited Africa’s wealth for centuries,” she said. “We have to share responsibilities fairly.”

Two days of speeches by world leaders starting Monday will be followed by technical negotiations. Any deal may not be struck until close to or even after the event’s Nov. 12 finish date.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Jeff Mason; writing by Mark John and Kevin Liffey; editing by Barbara Lewis