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Live Earth > Climate change concerts around the world July 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Ecology, Music.
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Many of the world’s biggest pop stars performed at Live Earth concerts around the globe on Saturday.

Some of the world’s biggest pop stars from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Madonna performed at Live Earth concerts around the globe on Saturday to urge fans and governments to fight global warming. Tens of thousands partied at concerts in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hamburg, Johannesburg, London, Washington, New Jersey and Rio de Janeiro to hear The Police, Bon Jovi, James Blunt, Linkin Park and Shakira and many other performers.

The mega-gig, spearheaded by former U.S. vice president and environmentalist Al Gore, takes in nine cities and ends at Rio’s Copacabana beach and a New Jersey football stadium. “You are Live Earth,” Gore told the crowd at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium, in the sweltering heat on a stage made with recycled tires.

With hand raised as if taking an oath, Gore took the seven-point pledge he wants others to endorse, binding them to cut carbon emissions and to lobby governments and employers to do more to save the planet. “Today 2 billion of us have come together in over 130 countries on seven continents,” Gore said to cheers. “Times like these demand action: please sign the Live Earth pledge.”

Pop idol Madonna ended the show at London’s Wembley stadium with a set including “Hey You,” written for Live Earth, while screens behind her showed images of environmental disasters. “I’d like to … thank Al Gore … for giving the world the wake-up call it so badly needs and for starting an avalanche of awareness that we are running out if time,” Madonna said.

Following the model of 1985’s Live Aid and Live 8 in 2005, Live Earth hopes to reach up to 2 billion people through radio, television and the Internet. There has been widespread cynicism among music fans, campaigners and fellow rockers about the role of pop music, renowned for Learjets and limousines, to promote green living.

“As a touring musician you have to fly. I suppose I could put myself in a box and ship myself,” KT Tunstall joked backstage after her New Jersey performance. Asked if she lives a “green” life, the singer said the first year sales of her debut CD generated 650 million tonnes of carbon emissions but she has tried to partially offset that huge carbon footprint through the planting of 6,000 trees.

At Wembley, Corinne Bailey Rae sang “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” Marvin Gaye’s 1971 environment classic, also played by Alicia Keys in New Jersey. In London, mock rockers Spinal Tap reunited to perform “Warmer Than Earth,” in which the Devil complains about high temperatures in Britain.

Among the stranger moments was primatologist Jane Goodall telling the New Jersey crowd, “I’m going to start by giving you the greeting of the chimpanzee” before mimicking the animals she has lived with and studied since 1960.

Gore wants Live Earth viewers to pressure leaders to sign a new treaty by 2009 to cut global warming pollution by 90 percent in rich nations and more than half worldwide by 2050. His Oscar-winning documentary on global warming “An Inconvenient Truth” and now the Live Earth campaign have only added to chatter that the man who lost the 2000 election to President George W. Bush might mount a fresh White House bid, despite his statements that he has no plans to do so.

In New Jersey, reporters asked performers if Gore should run. Singer Dave Matthews replied, “He seems like a nice guy.” And a plane flew over the stadium towing a banner that read “DRAFTGORE.COM,” apparently hoping to convince Gore to run.

Not everybody has has supported the concerts. Bob Geldof, the man behind Live Aid and Live 8, argues the world is already aware of global warming and the event lacked a “final goal.”

But many concert goers defended the gigs. “We could do a lot more for the environment, but I suppose we’re lazy,” teenager Robyn Raymond said in Johannesburg.

About 30,000 people in Hamburg enjoyed performances by Yusuf, formerly known as Cat Stevens, and Shakira, despite rain. German comedian Elton joked about the bad weather: “We’re here to fight against global warming in such crap weather.”

The Shanghai concert was seen as key to Live Earth’s success, after the International Energy Agency said China could become the top emitter of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, as early as this year, a claim disputed by officials.

The free Rio show, almost canceled over security concerns, drew as many as 600,000 people with no signs of violence. Near the stage, revelers in bikinis and swimsuits frolicked in the surf on Copacabana beach.

There was also footage from Antarctica of the previously unknown band Nunatak playing a short set in front of 17 fellow researchers, allowing Gore to keep his promise to hold concerts on seven continents on the date 7/7/7.

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