SCOTTISH rugby fans should start thinking about travelling to the World Cup in France next year on a “carbon neutral basis” – while celebrating wins with wine instead of beer.

That’s the suggestion from the National’s rugby correspondent Martin Hannan, following news the football World Cup in Qatar has produced around 10 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Although it might be cold comfort, Scotland’s failure to qualify at least means the team’s contribution has “yet again” been net zero, even if there had been “a lot of hot air” from Scottish pundits in the qualifying stages, according to Hannan.

His comments come as doubt is cast on claims by football governing body FIFA and Qatar officials that this year’s football World Cup is carbon neutral.

Instead of only around three million tonnes of carbon being emitted as they claim, energy experts have calculated the true figure is closer to ten million – more than three times the official number.

In total, 60 million trees would need to be planted to offset the carbon emissions caused by the 2022 tournament.

England’s participation alone has been calculated to have produced at least 52,825.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions by fans travelling to Qatar.

An estimated 91,000 fans flew from England to Doha, only to see their team knocked out by France in the quarter finals.

Around 316,953 trees would need to be planted to offset England’s CO2 emissions, according to a report by energy insurance company Hometree.

An estimated 10,000 French fans have also flown in for the event, hoping for victory in today’s final against Argentina, adding up to 5625 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

However it is not just flights that have caused this World Cup to at least double the carbon footprint of the 2014 and 2018 tournaments in Brazil and Russia.

The eight stadiums being used in the tournament have mostly been purpose-built, which accounts for 40% of carbon emissions released during FIFA and Qatar’s supposedly carbon-neutral World Cup, the report states. This means 24,000,000 trees would need to be planted in order to offset the carbon emissions caused by the building and maintenance (and in one instance, demolition) of the stadiums.

“When Qatar was announced as the host for the 2022 World Cup 12 years ago, FIFA came under pressure from media outlets, sporting experts and activists for choosing a country which has such a small presence in the competitive football world with no major national team, and at the cost of a very high price,” said a ­Hometree spokesperson.

He added: “We know that carbon-neutral football is possible; take last year’s first entirely net-zero football match at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Since then, Tottenham has committed to making matches at their stadium net-zero and are top of the Premier League sustainability ­table for a third year running.

“And while it’s unlikely that 2.45 million fans will ever travel across the world Greta Thunberg style, there are ways to travel more sustainably.

“From booking with eco-friendly ­airlines to considering ­carbon-conscious accommodations and supporting local ­businesses, ­sustainability is going to be a big ­question on fans’ minds going ­forward.”

Hannan said: “Yet again Scotland made a net zero contribution to the tournament though there was a lot of hot air from Scottish pundits. At least we’ll be at the World Cup in France next year so we can start thinking about getting the team and fans to go there on a carbon neutral basis. Can I also suggest we switch from wine to beer?”

According to the Upcycler’s Lab website, wine is less damaging to the environment as it doesn’t require as much heat or water during the production and distilling process.

Find the full World Cup emissions study online at: