Music Ally has been reporting on artists’ and music companies’ efforts to cut their emissions for some time now, but often those reports are of their announcements about what they plan to do. But what are the results? One of those artists, Coldplay, has provided some information on that.
The band are into the second year of their ‘Music Of The Spheres’ tour, and at the start they said their aim was to reduce direct carbon emissions by 50%. On Friday (2 June) Coldplay published the results of an analysis of data from the tour’s first 12 months.
“On a show-by-show comparison, the Music Of The Spheres tour has so far produced 47% less CO2e [carbon dioxide equivalent] emissions than our last stadium tour (2016-17). This is a good start – and something that our incredible crew should be very proud of – but clearly there’s still room for improvement,” explained the band in a social-media post.
Measures taken on the tour range from encouraging fans to travel to shows using public transport and bring refillable water bottles, to power-generating ‘kinetic’ dancefloors, renewable-energy batteries and sustainable fuel for travel.
“We’ve started to run the entire show (audio, lights, lasers etc) from an electric battery system that allows us to use 100% renewable energy as efficiently as possible,” explained Coldplay in their post.
“We have been using electric vehicles and alternative fuels wherever we can, as well as reducing waste and plastic usage to a minimum.”
When artists talk about the climate emergency, there’s often a backlash: less from their own fans, and more from, well, climate emergency deniers. Accusations of hypocrisy (‘you fly on planes!’) and suggestions that musicians are unqualified to speak out on this topic (‘stick to music!’) abound.
Sometimes criticism has merits. Coldplay, for example, faced questions from environmentalists last year about the company they are working with on sustainable, palm-oil free biofuel, because it did use palm oil (the production of which contributes to deforestation) in other parts of its business.
Without wishing to sound trite, this is all a learning experience, and a multi-year, global stadium tour is an excellent opportunity to test a raft of new technologies and tactics to reduce emissions and increase awareness of climate issues.
The lessons learned – good-faith criticism included – will be helpful for many other artists in the years ahead.