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Sports world must join climate change crusade, says IOC

The IOC and UN launched an initiative aimed to line up verifiable commitments from sports federations and clubs to cut carbon pollution in line with the Paris Agreement.

FILE: The Olympic logo in the building of the IOC headquarters in Lausanne on 8 May 2012. Picture: AFP

KATOWICE/POLAND - The world of sports must join the effort to tame global warming, and the International Olympic Committee intends to lead the way, it said on Tuesday at UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

At the 195-nation negotiations, the IOC and UN launched an initiative aimed to line up verifiable commitments from sports federations and clubs to cut carbon pollution in line with the Paris Agreement.

That calls for capping the rise in Earth's temperature "well below" two degrees Celsius, and at 1.5 C if possible.

With only 1C of warming so far, the world has seen a crescendo of deadly extreme weather - heatwaves, drought, floods.

"Addressing climate change is everyone’s responsibility, and the IOC treats it very seriously," said IOC President Thomas Bach.

He was backed by Prince Albert II of Monaco, chair of the IOC's Sustainability and Legacy Committee.

"With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire and influence millions of people around the globe, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action and encourage crowds to join in," Prince Albert said at the event.

"As countries here in Katowice prepare to turn their climate commitments into reality, we stand ready to leverage the power of sport to support their efforts."

Like other sectors, sports has felt the sting of climate change.

Unreliable snow and warm winters are threatening winter sports while rising temperatures and unpredictable weather are challenging summer-sport athletes, spectators and organisers.

The new charter also calls on sports bodies to reduce climate impacts, promote climate action, and encourage "responsible consumption".

The initiative aims to use sport - the single largest audience aggregator - to drive global climate awareness and action.

Beside the IOC, organising committees for the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 games, the World Sailing organisation, the World Surf League and Roland Garros have all signed up.

The IOC has asked Olympic organising committees to develop their own carbon-cutting plans.

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