International participants in the London Marathon will be charged a £26 climate charge as part of efforts to make the race net zero by 2030.
London Marathon Events (LME) said the money will be used to pay carbon removal company CUR8 to remove 280 tonnes of CO2 from the air.
Other measures will also be introduced, such as switching from diesel generators to generators using hydrotreated vegetable oil.
Organizers said they were “more ambitious” on climate targets.
LME, which organizes other sporting events such as the Brighton Marathon and Swim Serpentine, said it aims to reduce around 800 tonnes of carbon per year through removals and by reducing emissions.
It will also transition to the use of electric vehicles and encourage participants to use public transportation.
The organization is ramping up efforts to get to net zero by 2030, rather than 2040 as originally planned.
Kate Chapman, head of sustainability at LME, said: “If you look at where we are now, 17 years from now, it just feels like far too long. It is clear that we must do everything we can to reduce those emissions.
“The fact that there is something we can do, yes, that has been a factor that has helped us be more ambitious.”
There were approximately 9,920 LME participants in 2022, with 95% of total emissions coming from their travel, although this is usually not included in the net zero calculation.
Instead, LME said it would use the “fairly blunt instrument” of the £26 climate charge, which is taken as an average of the different distances and travel methods used by international participants to attend the event.
The company paying for it, CUR8, uses several methods to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, such as improving soils and planting forests.
Some people are critical of removing CO2, saying it gives a false sense of security and distracts from reducing emissions in the first place.
However, Mark Stevenson, one of CUR8’s co-founders, said the company is not telling anyone, “You can claim net zero with us, because the language is evolving.”
“What we are saying is that you can claim that you are removing this amount of carbon on your journey to net zero,” he explained.
Written by James W Kelly & PA Media and published by bbc.co.uk on October 17, 2023. SOURCE