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Comms Declare, an industry body representing hundreds of workers in advertising, media, PR and marketing, has criticised the Australian Open for accepting Santos as an ‘Official Natural Gas Partner’.

The gas giant and ATP Cup announced the multi-year partnership yesterday despite Tennis Australia being the first sporting organisation to commit to the United Nations Sports for Climate Change Action Framework.

“This is an irresponsible move by a sport that is already being disrupted by climate change,” said Comms Declare Co-founder, Belinda Noble.

“Scientists have warned the Australian Open should be moved to cooler months because the summer peak is becoming dangerously hot for athletes.

“Under the UN Sports for Climate Change Action Framework, Tennis Australia agreed to educate for climate action and promote environmental responsibility. Accepting sponsorship money from a fossil fuel company is clearly at odds with those goals.

“Fossil fuel companies use sports sponsorships as a platform to gain social acceptance and perpetuate untruths about their businesses being clean and good for the environment. 

“The truth is, we have to phase out gas if we are to have a climate that allows sports like tennis to be played safely in the future,” she added.

Gas is mainly methane and, over 20 years, it traps 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Santos’ contentious coal seam gas project at Narrabri in NSW will be one of Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and is facing a court challenge from the community.

Comms Declare represents more than 50 communications organisations and 240 individuals who have agreed to not conduct professional activities that are at odds with the need to reverse global warming.