Heat waves and heat stroke will endanger the health of both players and fans, extreme weather events and rising sea levels caused by climate change will flood stadiums and courses, and rising sea levels will threaten golf courses, the report warns.
A study released on Saturday found that sports leaders have largely failed to resolve the crisis, nor their part in creating it.
The report’s authors warned that carbon emissions in global sport are equal to those in a country the size of Angola according to lower estimates and Spain according to the above estimates.
But despite this, the sports industry has received a “terribly inadequate” response, the report says, noting that only a “small fraction” of world leagues, federations, tournaments, clubs and sports bodies have made carbon targets, highlighted their environmental commitments or signed UN Climate Action Framework for Sport.
Meanwhile, petrochemical companies, airlines and vehicle manufacturers continue to maintain a presence as key advertisers and sponsors of the sport, the study said.
“Sport provides some of the most influential role models for society. If sport can change the way it works, act at the speed and scale needed to stop climate disasters, another follows,” Andrew Simms, coordinator of the Alliance for Rapid Transition, said in a statement.
“The first step would be to stop sponsoring companies that provide fossil fuels and products that promote a fossil fuel-like lifestyle. At the moment, sport is part of the problem, but it can become part of the solution,” he said.
The author of the report, David Goldblatt, said that although broad changes are needed globally to address climate crises, the sports industry could spur sea changes if it is committed to tackling climate change.
“Sport may be large enough that, in terms of carbon emissions, it can register as a small state or individual mega-city, but its own efforts are only a fraction of a percentage point of the world’s total. Yet few human practices offer such an unusually large, global and socially diverse constituents such as those who play and follow sports.
“If the world of nuclear coal were to become the priority of common sense in the sports world, it would make a huge contribution to making it the priority of common sense of all politics,” he said.