Athletes Call for 50% Emissions Cut by 2030

In an initiative led by Emma and David Pocock, 300 Australian athletes and counting are calling for a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero “before” 2050. 

Dubbed “The Cool Down,” the initiative has the backing of gold medallist Giaan Rooney, surfing world champion Mick Fanning, golfer Karrie Webb, Sydney Swans’ Buddy Franklin, Penrith Panthers’ Nathan Cleary, the Australian cricket team’s Pat Cummins, soccer icon Craig Foster, and many others.

The signatories are calling attention to the fact that although the Paris Climate agreement calls for limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, the global climate is already 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial average. “In Australia, that means more powerful storms, destructive marine and land heatwaves, and a new age of megafires,” say The Cool Down signatories.

Even so, the Australian government is refusing to promise meaningful action before 2030; even its commitment to a vague by-2050 reduction promise is thin. So the athletes are hoping to blast the issue back to national prominence in an election campaign sure to be heavy on Covid considerations.

When asked, “Why sport?”, Pocock drew attention to the forced heat-stress withdrawals in this year’s Australian (tennis) Open. “The people and places we love, as well as the sports we love so much are threatened by climate change,” Pocock said. 

“We have the resources in our own backyard to be a world leader in this field and, as a sporting nation, we’re used to performing on the world stage. It’s time we harness that to focus on strong climate action.”

Unsurprisingly, the initiative also drew the support of Mike Cannon-Brookes. “We’re behind on the scoreboard,” said the Atlassian co-founder, “But don’t give up. Whistle hasn’t blown yet!”

Partners of The Cool Down include Bank of Australia (“the bank that chooses the planet”) and climate finance NGO Market Forces.

Follow Christian on Twitter for more news updates.

If you’d like to receive an occasional Free email with more content like this, then sign up today!