Rugby World Cup Goes Green

Last year's World Cup Football competition set new standards for environmental initiatives. Today the Rugby World Cup 2007 is starting in France for six long weeks, and they too have risen to the green challenge. Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said "We want all sports and cultural events in France to be ecologically responsible. These events are celebrations but they also have to be celebrations of the planet." Organizers have commissioned a carbon audit of the event from an environmental energy agency. A series of energy-saving measures have been co-ordinated including rail transport between matches. There are good train connections between European countries and between the various cities in France holding events. But with 2.5M fans expected, including 30,000 Australian and New Zealand sportsfans flying in, not to mention Canadians and Japanese, cutting carbon emissions is a major challenge.

Teams will be shuttled between stadia by the TGV super-express train, rather than by plane or bus, and in the Paris region, team vehicles will use biofuels or a low-carbon form of diesel. Garbage will be recycled luckily, since it is expected that 778 tons of it will be thrown away. There will be recycled pitch-watering systems and fair trade snacks for half time. With ten different venues across the country, some 4.7 million kWh of electricity will be generated. Flood lighting systems have been over-hauled and 2,600 square meters of solar panels installed on the roof of the Saint Etienne stadium and a smaller solar power facility elsewhere. A major publicity campaign throughout France has also begun. :: ENN

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