The book is full of detailed charts and graphs that examine the greenhouse gasses emitted by a vast array of seemingly innocuous everyday activities and world-changing events. Calculations range from a slight 10 grams for sending a text message or drying your hands to the massive emissions embedded in the World Cup, data centers, and war, all of which weigh in around one million tons. There are some surprises—a paper bag has twice the footprint of a plastic one—and surprisingly nuanced discussions about the 80 grams that go into bananas and many other foods.
With an estimated carbon footprint of 2 753 250 t of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e), the FIFA 2010 World Cup, in South Africa, would have the largest carbon footprint of any major international sporting event, and would need major interventions to achieve the ambition of leaving a positive environmental legacy.
The massive footprint was largely owing to the significant distance that many international spectators would need to travel to get to South Africa. Because of its location, almost all international visitors would need to fly to the country.
In fact, 67% of the carbon footprint (1,86-million tons) was attributed to international travel. However, excluding international travel, the 2010 FIFA World Cup was still more than eight times the size of the 2006 World Cup held in Germany.