climate emergency

If the music industry needs any incentive to redouble its efforts to cut its climate impact, it comes in a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was published yesterday with a blunt warning to the world’s industries.

“In the scenarios we assessed, limiting warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030,” claimed the report.

The IPCC’s Jim Skea emphasised that in his statement. “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F). Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

It’s a huge report with a very broad focus in terms of industries: there isn’t a specific section focused on music. However, its warnings should be another spur for companies of all sizes in and around our industry to continue (or in some cases, start) their efforts to understand and then mitigate their climate impact.

Thankfully there are a growing number of organisations and resources to draw on, from Julie’s Bicycle, Reverb, A Greener Festival, EarthPercent, Music Declares Emergency, Green Touring Network, Powerful Thinking, the Music Climate Pact, the Super-Low Carbon Live Music report and Impala’s sustainability resources, along with the sustainability reports and goals published by independent labels like Ninja Tune, Beggars Group, !K7 Musicand Secretly Group.

When a report like the new IPCC publication comes out, it’s understandable to feel… daunted. Hopeless, even, given the scale of the task ahead, and the sense of a lack of urgency or even outright opposition from some of the world’s leaders who’ll be faced with the biggest, bravest decisions required.

Yet the smaller decisions and changes matter too, from individual artists and industry workers, up through every level of business in the music industry.

“The first thing is just to start. Start wherever you can, and things will start falling into place once you start taking action,” Chiara Badiali of Julie’s Bicycle told Music Ally in an interview last year. “When we have to, we can get stuff done. You can move mountains, and you can be super, super creative.”

This week’s IPCC report contains some hard truths, but it can also be a powerful spur for that creativity within our industry: to learn from and be encouraged by the efforts and progress made so far, and push it even further. With respect to the other news we’re writing about, there is no bigger or more important story for the music industry in 2022 than the climate emergency.

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