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Thread: World Rugby landmark report of projected impacts of climate change on Rugby

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    World Rugby landmark report of projected impacts of climate change on Rugby

    Landmark report examines future climate change impacts on rugby

    World Rugby today published a landmark report looking at the projected impacts of climate change on the sport of rugby in an effort to raise awareness of the issue that is already affecting the game as whole.

    4 June, 2024

    • Landmark report highlights the projected impacts of a world at +2°C on the sport of rugby.
    • Study aims to raise rugby ecosystem’s awareness of future issues threatening the game and empower stakeholders to adopt adaptation measures to safeguard its future.
    • World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont addresses the global rugby family with an open letter urging to “come together to protect the essence of our beloved sport”.
    • Impacts on 10 rugby nations outlined, using available scientific evidence from IPCC reports, inputs from climate and sports experts as well as data from member unions.
    • Findings predict a surge in extreme heat days, intensity and frequency of droughts, heavy rainfalls and flash floods, as well as increased humidity levels among six main climate hazards analysed that have direct and indirect impacts on rugby participation.
    • Set of practical recommendations for rugby stakeholders already in motion in line with World Rugby’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030.
    • Download “Rugby and climate change” report. https://www.world.rugby/organisation...climate-change


    World Rugby today published a landmark report looking at the projected impacts of climate change on the sport of rugby in an effort to raise awareness of the issue that is already affecting the game as whole.

    With the world heating up and likely heading towards a 1.5-degree increase in global average temperatures by 2026, the study demonstrates that consequences on rugby’s practice and ecosystems are significant and will continue to deteriorate in the coming decades.

    Heat waves will continue to affect athlete performance and spectator health. Droughts will more frequently affect turf pitches, while submersions from flooding and/or sea-level rise will increasingly impact infrastructure.

    World Rugby has therefore used climate projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), interviews with experts and data from 10 of its member unions to compile the “Rugby and climate change” report, a study looking at six main climate hazards that impact both directly and indirectly the sport, its athletes, spectators, infrastructure, and pitches to evaluate the likely implications for rugby.

    While varying from one climate region to another, the projected consequences of a world with +2°C involve overall:

    • Surge in number of extreme heat days (temperatures exceeding 35°C) per year in all nations studied with 60% of them having ten or more additional days when rugby can’t be played.
    • Increase in frequency and intensity of droughts for half the nations studied.
    • Rise in both the occurrence and severity of heavy rainfall and flash floods for 80% of countries analysed.
    • One in 10 of the major stadiums researched worldwide will be exposed to an annual submersion risk.
    • One third of the stadiums investigated (111 venues) are in cyclone zones and will face amplifications of wind and cyclone activity.
    • Most climate regions considered will experience periods of increased humidity, at levels that will cause additional heat-related suffering for athletes, officials and spectators.


    To go further, authors have also undertaken an in-depth analysis of impacts for 10 countries representative of World Rugby’s membership including Argentina, Australia (Rugby World Cups 2027 & 29 hosts), England (RWC 2025), Fiji, France, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and USA (RWCs 2031 & 33). For each nation, the main consequences are highlighted per climate region(s) with projected repercussions in a +2°C and +3°C scenario.

    This endeavour falls into World Rugby’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030 and its fourth pillar committing to promote sustainability in rugby through education, advocacy and knowledge sharing.

    World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said “This report aims to answer some of the key questions around climate change by extrapolating the available scientific evidence and peer-reviewed studies and applying them in the context of rugby participation. It is my sincere hope that the findings contained in this landmark study will not only raise awareness within our rugby family but also serve as a catalyst for collective action at all levels of the game; and that its recommendations will inspire initiatives that foster sustainable practices, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience within our sport.”

    Australian senator and former international rugby player David Pocock added: “What this report powerfully shows is that tackling climate change is not a ‘nice to have’. It cannot be an issue we tack on as an afterthought. Climate change is an existential threat to the game we love. As you read this report, you’ll find that no part of our sport will remain untouched under these two-degree plus scenarios. […] I hope this report will ensure the minds of those responsible for governing our game are turned to focus on this challenge. We cannot sit on the sidelines any longer, we all have a role to play.”

    Read the full report >> https://www.world.rugby/organisation...climate-change

    A set of recommendations available to all rugby stakeholders and already in motion

    The study concludes with a series of six recommendations to enhance rugby’s resilience to climate change together with guidance and case studies to inspire positive action.

    Among the six proposals, a call for all rugby stakeholders from clubs to competition owners to develop and implement plans to reduce rugby’s environmental impacts and support others to adopt a similar approach is already in progress. Unions and professional clubs such as Munster Rugby or Northampton Saints have already developed their own plan while World Rugby’s ESP 2030 published in four languages can serve as a blueprint for other rugby organisations worldwide to follow. The international federation also started in 2024 a series of sustainability workshops with its member unions and regional associations to provide guidance and tools to implement this proposition.

    Another recommendation proposes research into the adaptation and modification of rugby practices, laws, regulations and event specifications to make the sport more resilient. While this will require time and investment, change is already at the forefront of the governing body’s action plan with the launch of new non-contact format T1 Rugby to make the sport more accessible in different conditions (e.g. dry surfaces) and research presented during the latest Player Welfare Symposium is currently looking at introducing new heat guidelines adapted to hotter temperatures.

    The final suggestion asks rugby organisations to promote and support climate change adaptation and mitigation measures at a local level, a necessary step to equip everyone involved in the game and enhance their resilience. Worldwide turf experts consulted for the report are unanimous on the need to adapt playing surfaces to changing conditions, mainly for warmer and/or wetter climates, and World Rugby’s natural turf guidelines already provide useful guidance on best practices and recommended grass types based on climate specificities.

    Initiatives like Rugby for Nature launched to rugby communities globally to safeguard the natural environment and biodiversity within and around rugby facilities demonstrate how governing bodies and member unions can support local initiatives with practical resources adapted to the reality of climate change and biodiversity loss.

    The international federation will take the findings from the report to inform its long-term planning including the organisation of future SVNS and Rugby World Cups while continuing to work with its stakeholders to make the sport more resilient for the future.

    Anticipating the impacts of climate change on our sport

    World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont addresses the global rugby family with an open letter urging to “come together to protect the essence of our beloved sport”

    4 June, 2024

    Dear friends in rugby,

    In sport, the smallest of margins can make a difference – between a win and a loss, triumph or defeat.

    Two degrees may not seem like much. But in a global climate context, the science is unequivocal – a two-degree rise in average global temperatures will have significant and far-reaching consequences for the health of our communities, our economies and our planet.

    The global rugby family is already grappling with the far-reaching consequences of climate change, and we have a collective responsibility as custodians of the sport to tackle the challenges posed by these unprecedented environmental changes for future generations.

    But to act, we must first understand.

    We must understand the complex relationship between climate change and rugby. Understand how increasing temperatures will impact current and future rugby players’ health at all levels of our game. Understand how alteration to weather patterns and extreme climate events are already compromising our ability to enjoy rugby, on and off the field, in all corners of the world. Understand the consequences of unsustainable production practices and consumption patterns, and how changes to our planet’s climate will affect our business models, our capacity to adapt and mitigate to sustain rugby’s ecosystem, and indeed our way of life.

    And crucially, understand the trends anchored in science so we can work together on meaningful and effective actions to safeguard the future of our sport.

    Today, building on the ambitions of our Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030, and with the valuable input from a number of unions and independent experts, we are publishing a report to answer some of the key questions around climate change and rugby, by extrapolating the available scientific evidence and peer-reviewed studies and applying them in the context of rugby participation.

    It is my sincere hope that the findings contained in the study will not only raise awareness within our family but also serve as a catalyst for collective action at all levels of the game; and that its recommendations will inspire initiatives, from carbon and waste reduction to biodiversity protection and promotion (such as Rugby for Nature), that foster sustainable practices, mitigation, adaptation and resilience within our sport.

    The choices facing us may appear difficult and stark at first but in reality, when faced with the alternatives, they are really quite simple.

    In the spirit of unity and shared responsibility, respect and solidarity, let us come together to protect the essence of our beloved sport and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future for generations of rugby players and enthusiasts to come – one that reflects our commitment to both the sport we love and the planet that sustains us.

    Sincerely,

    Sir Bill Beaumont GBE DL
    Chairman

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    David Pocock: ‘Climate change is an existential threat to the game we love’

    By Martyn Thomas, Rugby Pass
    06/06/2024


    Australia legend David Pocock has warned that “no part of our sport will remain untouched” as World Rugby published what it described as a landmark report into the impact of climate change on the game.

    On Tuesday, to coincide with World Environment Day on June 5th, World Rugby released the ‘Rugby and climate change’ report, which aims to raise awareness of the future issues facing the game should global temperatures increase by 2°C or more.

    Drawing on scientific evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as input from climate and sport experts and data from member unions, the document details specific impacts on 10 rugby nations.

    Those threats include a surge in extreme heat days, intensity and frequency of droughts, heavy rainfall and flash floods, and increased humidity levels. One in 10 of the major stadia researched worldwide, meanwhile, will be exposed to an annual submersion risk.

    Gloucester’s Kingsholm, Optus Stadium in Perth and HFC Bank Stadium in Suva are among the grounds at risk, as are five of the 14 major venues in New Zealand, including Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

    Introducing the report, World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont urged global rugby stakeholders to “come together to protect the essence of our beloved sport” and that is a sentiment echoed by Pocock.

    The 83-cap Wallaby has long campaigned for greater action around climate change in Australia and has served as a senator in the country’s parliament since June 2022.

    Describing the devastating impact the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires had on his hometown, Canberra, Pocock writes in the report’s foreword: “Climate change is no longer a future threat to our communities. It’s already here.

    “The burning of coal, oil and gas, and ongoing deforestation are driving the extreme weather events we’re seeing impacting our communities. From heatwaves to bushfire smoke, lethal humidity, flooding and drought, rugby is not immune.

    “What this report powerfully shows is that tackling climate change is not a ‘nice to have’. It cannot be an issue we tack on as an afterthought. Climate change is an existential threat to the game we love.

    “As you read this report, you’ll find that no part of our sport will remain untouched under these two-degree plus scenarios. The impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed.

    “Those affected first and worst are those who have contributed least to the problem and have the least resources to adapt. Here in Australia, we’re facing challenges, but these pale in comparison to those of our Pacific neighbours – countries that have contributed little to climate change but so much to the game of rugby.

    “At this point, every fraction of a degree matters. We’ve just crossed 1.5 degrees of warming. We must do whatever we can to turn this trajectory around because climate change won’t just threaten the future of the game we love, it will affect all the people and places we love.

    “I hope this report will ensure the minds of those responsible for governing our game are turned to focus on this challenge. We cannot sit on the sidelines any longer, we all have a role to play.”

    The World Rugby report concludes with six recommendations to “enhance rugby’s resilience to climate change”.

    These proposals include a call for all the game’s stakeholders to develop and implement plans to reduce rugby’s environmental impact, engage in climate change action at a local level, and conduct research into adapting and modifying the game to make it more resilient.

    Beaumont said: “This report aims to answer some of the key questions around climate change by extrapolating the available scientific evidence and peer-reviewed studies and applying them in the context of rugby participation.

    “It is my sincere hope that the findings contained in this landmark study will not only raise awareness within our rugby family but also serve as a catalyst for collective action at all levels of the game; and that its recommendations will inspire initiatives that foster sustainable practices, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience within our sport.”

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Bloody oath we did!"

    Nathan Sharpe, Legend.

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