CLIMATE change is just about the only thing people were talking about last week.

The arrival of COP26 in Glasgow has ensured that everywhere you look, there is an action plan, a suggestion or a theory about the best way to tackle climate change.

Sport, as is often the case, came late to the party but finally, it has arrived.

For years, decades even, worries about climate change and the world of sport never collided. But, at last, the sporting world has woken up both to the dangers of climate change and to its responsibility to becoming greener.

In Scotland, the threat is becoming all the more apparent. There are a number of sports that are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change, and the dangers are already all too apparent.

The rise in global temperatures means Scotland’s snow sports – along with those in the rest of the world – are almost certainly going to be badly affected in the coming years.

Already the impact of climate change is being felt, and things are only going to get worse.

All five of this country’s winter resorts are below 2,000m leaving them in particular danger to any rises in temperature. 

Already, Scotland’s winters are becoming less predictable, with snowfall happening later and later each year, and the volume of snow more irregular than in the past.

Similarly, Scotland’s golf courses, specifically the links courses, are coming under threat from coastal erosion and with sea levels predicted to rise, their existence is under threat. 

Globally, there is also an awareness of the need for urgent action by the world of sport.

Formula One is a particularly serious offender. The international courier service DHL, which is a major F1 sponsor, revealed that for the 2021 season to happen, it clocked up to 120,000 kilometres to deliver cars, teams, broadcast and hospitality equipment, as well as fuel and tyres to races. This is the equivalent of three trips around the world.

It has become clear in recent years that, for the sake of the planet, this cannot go on.

In response, Formula One has unveiled a climate-action strategy which includes a new engine that aims to use 100 per cent sustainable fuel and carbon neutral by 2030, incentives for greener travel for fans, more sustainable materials, ultra-efficient logistics, and powering offices, facilities and factories with 100 per cent renewable energy.

While it remains unclear quite how long a sport which is based solely on driving cars, an activity we are all being told to do less of, can be sustained, these new measures are at least a start.

Last week at COP26, several of the giants of the sporting world made clear their commitment to do their bit for the planet.

Both FIFA and the IOC are signatories of the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework which pledges to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, as well as vowing to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

Sport is in a strange position. The constant travelling the length and breadth of the globe to compete is not conducive to being green, but there is, at least, an acceptance now that there is a responsibility to do what it takes to help the planet, or at least stem the speed of damage.

So where does sport go from here?

The impact on many, if not most outdoor sports, is likely to become more obvious in the coming years.

A report released last year suggested that the disruption already felt is only going to become more severe.

In Britain, football grounds, particularly lower league ones, often find themselves flooded, while globally, there are other challenges.

In the past two years, bush fires have affected the Australian Open tennis, typhoons have disrupted the Rugby World Cup and the rise in global temperatures has left many countries in no position to host a Winter Olympics.

It’s about time that sport did its bit to tackle the climate crisis, and serious action must begin immediately.


The revelation that yet another elite-level coach is to be investigated over sexual misconduct claims is worrying but also, in a strange way, heartening.

It seems there has been a glut of stories in recent months about the inappropriate and harmful way coaches have treated their athletes, with another to add to the list last week when it was reported that one of the world’s top sprint coaches, Rana Reider, is under investigation by the US Centre for SafeSport after complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him.

The American works with the likes of Tokyo 2020 Olympic 200m gold medallist Andre de Grasse and the world triple jump champion Christian Taylor, and also trains numerous British athletes including Adam Gemili and Daryll Neita at his Florida base.

Coaches behaving inappropriately, or even illegally, is nothing new. However, until recently, few, if any athletes had the courage or the confidence to raise their concerns or complaints as the assumption was they would not be believed.

Things are changing and while it is still hard for most athletes to speak out about any harmful behaviour by a coach, there is, without doubt, a much more open-minded and a less dismissive  attitude these days to accusations.