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New research to tackle live music’s impact on the climate crisis

The live music industry’s carbon emissions could be reduced after scientists at the University of Manchester announced they were compiling a blueprint on how performers can tour with a much lower impact on climate change.

The move comes after the band Massive Attack approached Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to help find solutions to the climate crisis, as they will be donating four years of touring data for the report.

The new research will look at all aspects of touring and how its carbon footprint can be reduced to zero, or as close to zero as possible.

Researchers will reportedly be looking into how to reduce the amount of energy used during concerts and in moving musicians, crews and sets between different venues and cities, as well as the impact audiences have.

Tyndall Manchester’s director, Carly McLachlan, said they’ll be looking at where switches can be made to renewable energy sources, how to reduce the amount of energy being consumed but also thinking about how touring could be different.

The professor said, according to the BBC: “It is a high carbon sector and we need to try and tackle that, because every sector has to be part of the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Robert del Naja of Massive Attack, aka 3D, told the BBC he felt conflicted because of how his career has contributed to climate change.

He said: “[As musicians] we have enjoyed a high carbon lifestyle. But as a society we’ve all existed in a fossil fuel economy for a long time and had very little choice in that.

“The challenge now is to not only make personal sacrifices, but to insist on the systemic change that’s needed. Business as usual is over.”

According to a recent report by Julie’s Bicycle, live music generates 405,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK every year.

Image: Platonova Alina