They weren’t dancing the “waka waka” but on Friday, global soccer mania stalled talks to save the planet from overheating.
Bickering negotiators from more than 190 countries ended their squabbling early to watch the World Cup kickoff between host South Africa and Mexico.
Both countries are also linked to global climate negotiations: Mexico will host the global climate summit in December and South Africa is the venue next year. So, soccer metaphors were rife in Bonn.
“Today’s match can set the pace for the climate talks,” said the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature's South African campaigner Tanseem Essop, wearing her country’s world cup jersey. “We can make progress at COP 16 (in Mexico) so that we can score the winning goal at COP 17 (in South Africa).”
Even though climate talks are stalled over who will pay the multi-billion-dollar bill to mitigate the effects of global warming, the World Cup has been influenced by the message of greener, cleaner world.
Five new stadia are solar powered, and one of them has a rain water harvesting system. Cape Town and Durban, both game venues, are using energy from wind and biogas from landfill sites.
Soccer appeared to be the buzzword in Bonn with speakers telling climate negotiators that the earth will score a “goal of destruction” if they failed to act.