Live Earth Set to Rock Out Against Climate Change

Live Earth logoMust admit I have been a skeptic regarding the need or likely effectiveness of the Live Earth concerts. Awareness of global warming is not lacking, rigorous policy actions now in response are. So I was pleasantly surprised to see the Live Earth's 7-point pledge (sign):
* To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth;
* To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become “carbon neutral;”
* To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2;
* To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;
* To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;
* To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,
* To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.
Wow! Ecologically rigorous and perfectly doable. I would have liked to see: “Have fewer babies and consume less”; but hey, they are not my concerts! We need to keep the heat on Al Gore to use his podium for sufficient climate solutions — and to work more closely with the rest of the movement (no need to reinvent everything).

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14 Responses

  1. The Cynic says:

    They can do nothing but add to the problem. Look at the thousands that will have travelled there, with their drinks and drugs and don't even pay for a ticket. They don't care they are enjoying a free pop concert.
    Get real, work out the damage caused by that alone, carbon emissions, litter, pollution, overdoses, fights all have to be cleaned up and paid for. Not one person I know going is doing so because of the environment, they are going for a good time.
    I hope nature has had enough and ends it now, the greatest plague on earth is MANKIND.
    The Cynic

  2. Hi to all,
    The following article may not belong here in this discussion; however, it is sufficiently related to this and other valued commentaries, thanks to Glen Barry, and strikes me as extremely significant not only for its content but for who is saying such things.
    Start article
    A Sudden Change of State
    A new paper suggests we have been greatly underestimating the impacts of climate change -; and the size of the necessary response.
    By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 3rd July 2007
    Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic(1).
    The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century(2). Hansen's paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn't fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today's level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature(3).
    We now have a pretty good idea of why ice sheets collapse. The buttresses that prevent them from sliding into the sea break up; meltwater trickles down to their base, causing them suddenly to slip; and pools of water form on the surface, making the ice darker so that it absorbs more heat. These processes are already taking place in Greenland and West Antarctica.
    Rather than taking thousands of years to melt, as the IPCC predicts, Hansen and his team find it "implausible" that the expected warming before 2100 "would permit a West Antarctic ice sheet of present size to survive even for a century." As well as drowning most of the world's centres of population, a sudden disintegration could lead to much higher rises in global temperature, because less ice means less heat reflected back into space. The new paper suggests that the temperature could therefore be twice as sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than the IPCC assumes. "Civilization developed," Hansen writes, "during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end."(4)
    I looked up from the paper, almost expecting to see crowds stampeding through the streets. I saw people chatting outside a riverside pub. The other passengers on the train snoozed over their newspapers or played on their mobile phones. Unaware of the causes of our good fortune, blissfully detached from their likely termination, we drift into catastrophe.
    Or we are led there. A good source tells me that the British government is well aware that its target for cutting carbon emissions -; 60% by 2050 -; is too little, too late, but that it will go no further for one reason: it fears losing the support of the Confederation of British Industry. Why this body is allowed to keep holding a gun to our heads has never been explained, but Gordon Brown has just appointed Digby Jones, its former director-general, as a minister in the department responsible for energy policy. I don't remember voting for him. There could be no clearer signal that the public interest is being drowned by corporate power.
    The government's energy programme, partly as a result, is characterised by a complete absence of vision. You can see this most clearly when you examine its plans for renewables. The EU has set a target for 20% of all energy in the member states to come from renewable sources by 2020. This in itself is pathetic. But the government refuses to adopt it(5): instead it proposes that 20% of our electricity (just part of our total energy use) should come from renewable power by that date. Even this is not a target, just an "aspiration", and it is on course to miss it. Worse still, it has no idea what happens after that. Last week I asked whether it has commissioned any research to discover how much more electricity we could generate from renewable sources. It has not(6).
    It's a critical question, whose answer -; if its results were applied globally -; could determine whether or not the planetary "albedo flip" that Hansen predicts takes place. There has been remarkably little investigation of this issue. Until recently I guessed that the maximum contribution from renewables would be something like 50%: beyond that point the difficulties of storing electricity and balancing the grid could become overwhelming. But three papers now suggest that we could go much further.
    Last year, the German government published a study of the effects of linking the electricity networks of all the countries in Europe and connecting them to North Africa and Iceland with high voltage direct current cables(7). This would open up a much greater variety of renewable power sources. Every country in the network would then be able to rely on stable and predictable supplies from elsewhere: hydroelectricity in Scandanavia and the Alps, geothermal energy in Iceland and vast solar thermal farms in the Sahara. By spreading the demand across a much wider network, it suggests that 80% of Europe's electricity could be produced from renewable power without any greater risk of blackouts or flickers.
    At about the same time, Mark Barrett at University College London published a preliminary study looking mainly at ways of altering the pattern of demand for electricity to match the variable supply from wind and waves and tidal power(8). At about twice the current price, he found that we might be able to produce as much as 95% of our electricity from renewable sources without causing interruptions in the power supply.
    Now a new study by the Centre for Alternative Technology takes this even further(9). It is due to be published next week, but I have been allowed a preview. It is remarkable in two respects: it suggests that by 2027 we could produce 100% of our electricity without the use of fossil fuels or nuclear power, and that we could do so while almost tripling its supply: our heating systems (using electricity to drive heat pumps) and our transport systems could be mostly powered by it. It relies on a great expansion of electricity storage: building new hydroelectric reservoirs into which water can be pumped when electricity is abundant, constructing giant vanadium flow batteries and linking electric cars up to the grid when they are parked, using their batteries to meet fluctuations in demand. It contains some optimistic technical assumptions, but also a very pessimistic one: that the UK relies entirely on its own energy supplies. If the German proposal were to be combined with these ideas, we could begin to see how we might reliably move towards a world without fossil fuels.
    If Hansen is correct, to avert the meltdown that brings the Holocene to an end we require a response on this scale: a sort of political "albedo flip". The government must immediately commission studies to discover how much of our energy could be produced without fossil fuels, set that as its target then turn the economy round to meet it. But a power shift like this cannot take place without a power shift of another kind: we need a government which fears planetary meltdown more than it fears the CBI.
    George Monbiot's book Heat: how to stop the planet burning is now published in paperback.
    1. James Hansen et al, 2007. Climate Change and Trace Gases. Philiosophical Transactions of the Royal Society -; A. Vol 365, pp 1925-1954. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2007.2052.
    2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, February 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis -; Summary for Policymakers. Table SPM-3.
    3. I am grateful to Marc Hudson for drawing my attention to this paper and giving me a copy.
    4. James Hansen et al, ibid.
    5. In the Energy White Paper it says the following: "The 20% renewables target is an ambitious goal representing a large increase in Member States' renewables capacity. It will need to be taken forward in the context of the overall EU greenhouse gas target. Latest data shows that the current share of renewables in the UK's total energy mix is around 2% and for the EU as a whole around 6%. Projections indicate that by 2020, on the basis of existing policies, renewables would contribute around 5% of the UK's consumption and are unlikely to exceed 10% of the EU's." Department of Trade and Industry, May 2007. Meeting the Energy Challenge: A White Paper on Energy, page 23.
    6. Emails from David Meechan, press officer, Renewables, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
    7. German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Technical Thermodynamics Section Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment, June 2006. Trans-Mediterranean Interconnection for Concentrating Solar Power. Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany.
    8. Mark Barrett, April 2006. A Renewable Electricity System for the UK: A Response to the 2006 Energy Review. UCL Bartlett School Of Graduate Studies -; Complex Built Environment Systems Group.
    9. Centre for Alternative Technology, 10th July 2007. ZeroCarbonBritain: an alternative energy strategy. This will be made available at

  3. Erik says:

    Here is some interesting market research results on how people around the world want their governments to react to global warming:

  4. actionspeak says:

    Concert for climate crisis, yes, its a good idea, keep us conscious about being environmental friendly (I hope) and create a new Cool word….offset carbon footprint…. which I wonder how many people really understand what it meant.
    Check this out….
    Somebody here is doing the walk and not just the talk – addressing the problem of climate change, fuel poverty and the many deaths during the cold winter months.
    Its time to take Real Action!

  5. mat says:

    How dumb is al gore? i mean “lets save the world” remind everyone to switch off electricity, turn down their usage…. i mean A ROCK CONCERT maybe? but in how many countries? i mean you add the power they suck up, by the number of people who walked to the… oh hold on… i bet they drove! maybe one to a car! HOW STUPID?
    then there is the TV audience… how many million tv's? 18.. no world wide… 40/50 million…. duh! come on! why not a mass switch off, not just one city… but twenty… in each country… switch their lights off at night, fine them if they don't and no one works nights! – did you know they used to be able to catch crooks 20-30 years ago as they had to use torches? ok with night vision… but what about heat cameras… rig them to the light system… they'd be blind for weeks!
    It takes one big company to start the ball rolling…

  6. The realist says:

    This event is a joke. I would wager that the VAST majority of the attendees are there for the music, the party, and the event and NOT for the environment.
    Ask yourself.. how much power worldwide is being used to put this event on for 20+ hours? How much gas is/was being used to keep trucks moving, generators powered? How much power is being used to broadcast not to mention the millions that are using power to watch. This is just a feel good with no real value.
    Additionally, weve heard countless performers say this is not a right vs left problem yet each and every time a perform speaks negatively its about a person on the right. And good god can you please stop talking about how Al Gore had the Presidency of the USA stolen… HE LOST… NOW MOVE ON. Its simple, had he won his home state he would have been President. I know it hurts but its been 8 yrs… he is a has been and thankfully a never will be…
    Which brings me to Melissa Ethridge… Did I actually hear her say Al Gore went into politics because he wanted to tell the truth? But then she followed it up with the brillant statement that he wanted to tell “a” truth… “A” truth? How can there be more than one truth?
    Bottom line, global warming is uncertain. There are equal numbers of scientists who claim its real as say its made up. Can we all conserve, sure, is it a good thing to conserve, sure, are we in a crisis, yes but it has nothing to do with the damn environment.
    Ask yourself, history tells us of a massive ice age and a few minor ones. Each time the Earth got cold it also got warm, warm enough to melt ice caps. If the planet was able to heat and cool itself before does it not stand to reason it can do it again? I mean after all we did not have machines, cars, nuclear power, etc during the last ice age yet the planet got warmer.

  7. Lanny Smith says:

    Live Earth was great but the best music video on the Climate Crisis is the Climate Crisis Jam, created by the award-winning team at the Earthman Project.
    More than 300,000 people have seen it since Earth Day at http://www.ClimateCrisisJam.Org
    Check it out.

  8. Jeanne says:

    Are all liberals so narissictic to think God would create an earth that we would have the capability to destroy?
    Global warming is not a real threat. Does it exist?
    YES! But it is natural. We need global warming.
    People open your eyes and see what you are buying into. Liberals are spoon feeding you crap and you are swallowing it whole.
    How about this? I will change my way of living and be more 'enviromentally friendly' when the preaching liberals do so themselves. Practice what you preach.
    Al Gore—'Global warming' is your problem just as much as mine. Oh but you purchace your carbon credits when you run up your electric bill so it makes it ok.
    All the people who perform in benefits like Live Earth—-How much emissions went into the air when your jets took off to get you where you were performing? How about the semi trucks used to transport your equipment to the performance? or the busses that you ride in while you are on tour? how about all the electricity used for your concerts?
    Maybe when you start living what you preach then I will change.

  9. Monica says:

    Criticizing Live Earth for its environmental impact is a lame argument. How do you propose to reach 2 billion people without using energy? Promoting your cause from a cave only works if you are Al-Qaeda.

  10. With the debate about Global Warming: is trying to put the debate on a more scientific footing.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I think global warming does exist if not how do you explain why The UK has had so much rain, I really fear for all our futures food wise if the sun does not bstart to shine soon, most of the plants on my allotment that are exposed to the weather are not growing as they should! Example In the middle of June I put in the ground 2 tomato plants. Variety's which normally give a good crop outside so far they have not grown more than 6 inches I would expect them to be at least 2.5 ft by now, I'm going to move them back home and plant them in pot at home at least I might get something.
    the same applies to potatoes – the veg that Chips & Crisps are made from As I heard the other on the news a warning about potato blite normally I would spray with a copper based solution but what would be the point when the rain washes it off, the same will apply for farmers, Have you forgotten lessons from history the Irish Famine or was it called starvation was caused by Potato Blight that forced so many Irish folk to emigrate in the 1850's or thereabouts

  12. Despite what my brain tells me and my eyes show me, I believe with every "fiber of my being" that there is no way God intended for a miraculous species, gifted as Homo sapiens is, to inadvertently destroy itself and likely much of the world as we know it……by its own

  13. Hope is the operative word for us and signs of it can be found in many places by the leaders of my not-so-great generation of elders if they choose to take their heads out of the sand, break through the deafening silence surrounding us, and begin to openly discuss the global challenges looming ominously before humanity.
    As I see it, THE PROBLEM is simple and has already been presented succinctly elsewhere, some years ago. Rarely is the "code of silence" regarding over-population and skyrocketing absolute global human population numbers broken by the leadership of the global political economy. But let me provide at least one crystal clear example from a leader I have met face to face and for whom I have great respect. He is Prince el Hassan bin Talal of the great country of Jordan. Of course, many other leaders assisted him in the presentation of "The Report of the Independent Comission on International Humanitarian Issues," from which I will quote not more than a single sentence. The Commission's entire report is over 200 pages in paperback and entitled, WINNING THE HUMAN RACE?
    One has to read carefully not to miss the embedded sentence on page 17,
    "The problems of over-population and rapid population increase are largely being left for future generations to tackle."
    Humbly, I would submit to you that too many of our good leaders are not doing their best because they are avoiding their responsibilities and leading in a hopeless manner that is intellectually dishonest, ethically unwise and potentially ruinous of human and environmental health.
    The elders of my generation, especially our leaders, can do better and I trust we will.

  14. elena del hierro says:

    Hi, there is a nice innicative from spain.. it might help people realice that simple actions can actualy help solve the problem. If anyone speak spanish please enter.

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