- 07 Sep 21
The hugely expansive study proposes “an urgent and significant reassembly” of the music industry.
English electronic band Massive Attack has shared the results of their partnership with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, proposing a number of actions to reassemble the music industry.
Among the shifts required for “rapidly accelerated” progress on reduced carbon emissions are the immediate elimination of private jet use, a switch to electric transportation for concerts and festivals, and, by 2025, phasing out diesel generators at festivals.
Other suggestions featured include “plug and play models for venues,” which would reduce the burden of transporting gear, and the standardisation of equipment worldwide — all implemented collaboratively to help smaller venues struggling with the improved regulation.
In addition to tackling their own emissions, venues should also switch to “energy tariffs that directly support renewable energy projects” in order to “support the overall decarbonisation of the electricity grid,” the report comments further.
Artists should plan tours with emissions in mind from the beginning: “Super low carbon needs to be baked into every decision,” including “routing, venues, transport modes, set, audio and visual design, staffing, and promotion,” the report notes. Across the industry, carbon offsetting should be a last resort, employed only when further reductions are impossible.
To meet the goals of the (albeit unsatisfying) Paris Climate Agreement, the live music sector should aim for zero emissions from buildings and surface travel by 2035, and to limit aviation emissions at 80 percent of 2019 levels.
Details on how to implement each step, including interim targets for emissions, are compiled in an open resource for the live music sector.
Massive Attack have designed six emissions-reduction modules to trial on their 2022 tour in response to the latest research.
The outfit, formed in 1988 in Bristol, have also joined forces with the green industrialist Dale Vince and his company Ecotricity. The new partnership aims to improve the UK energy grid’s renewables capacity, to train event staff to generate and run sustainable operations, and to introduce vegan food options to venues.
In a press release, Massive Attack’s Robert “3D” del Naja emphasised that “what matters now is implementation. The major promotors simply must do more—it can’t be left to artists to continually make these public appeals.”
He later urges government action, noting that, nine weeks on from the UN climate change conference COP26, we remain unprepared for “the scale of transformation that’s required for the UK economy and society. Fossil fuel companies seem to have no problem at all getting huge subsidies from government, but where is the plan for investment in clean battery technology, clean infrastructure, or decarbonised food supply for a live music sector that generates £4.6 billion (€5.3 billion) for the economy every year and employs more than 200,000 dedicated people? It simply doesn’t exist.”
When the study was announced, del Naja wrote an op-ed for The Guardian on the need for urgent action, adding that the band nearly decided to stop touring altogether. In 2019, Coldplay followed through on not touring their album Everyday Life, though del Naja stated that this choice ultimately "wouldn't change a thing" for the environment. In April the same year, del Naja appeared at the Extinction Rebellion climate protest in London for a surprise DJ set.
We’ve toured the world for years. To help save the planet we’ll have to change | Massive Attack https://t.co/RWhSxiuoE0
— Guardian Opinion (@guardianopinion) November 28, 2019