Sports Law • Risk Management

Global Warming Risk and its Impact on Sport

Athletes during the summer are forced into heat acclimation processes, but are still advised not to participate during the hotter times of the year – high temperatures that are regularly being broken year after year over the past fifteen years. Training can be taken indoors in air-conditioned rooms (air conditioning that requires electricity to operate, electricity that is generated through fuels such as coal). Winter athletes are forced to travel to far away locations, as local facilities are unable to maintain the levels of snow and ice needed to operate; the dilemma of traveling to train and compete contradicts the moral obligation of conserving the environment by not adding to the problem by traveling such distances.

The ongoing question not only in sports, but in all facets of the industrial lifestyle, is who is ultimately responsible and how can this issue be mitigated? In sports, steps can be taken to reduce our global impact, such as utilizing renewable resources for energy. Installing windmills at the tops of stadiums, or solar panel roofs over parking spaces are methods that can harness the wind and sun to power the facility. Traveling lighter and staying closer to training grounds are ways athletes can significantly reduce their imprint.

Auto racing, possibly the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, have begun addressing the problems of global warming. Tire companies such as Pirelli reclaim used tires from Formula 1 teams to be used as fuel for companies to operate instead of using the local power supply. Formula-E, a racing league completely devoted to all-electric power units, aim to prove that auto racing can still be exciting without the roar of an internal combustion engine. NASCAR has developed a “Race to Green” initiative which devotes their time and resources to recycle and reuse motor oil, install solar panels at many of their tracks for power, and race with a blend of biofuel to reduce emissions. Finally, donations to the cause provides areas stricken by extreme weather and natural disasters with newly planted trees, the strongest fighters of concentrated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

When combating the risks of global warming, waiting 100 years until a facility is inoperable is not feasible. With many of our most iconic stadiums and facilities on coastlines across with world at risk of coastal flooding, and a majority of both summer and winter sports that depend on our climate as it was yesterday, individuals within the sports industry have an inherent responsibility towards each other to reduce our impact on global warming as soon as humanly possible.