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The Telegraph: Climate experts on Coldplay’s ‘sustainable’ tour

Coldplay’s new album, Music Of The Spheres, is the feelgood tour de force the world has desperately needed. It’s cheerfully absurd, utterly over-the-top and features a brightly-attired Chris Martin going into interstellar overdrive in his capacity as the Teletubby Bono. But this cosmic pick-me-up has arrived with a sting in the tail, with the band having just gone back on their 2019 pledge to stop touring until they could do so “in a more sustainable way”...

“We can't comment too much on the specifics of Coldplay's tour, as we would need to look much more deeply at the changes they make and the offsets they purchase. That being said, I think it's right to be skeptical about whether these actions are doing much good,” says Dan Stein, chief economist with IDinsight, a global advisory, data analytics, and research organisation, and founder of Giving Green, which produces “an actionable and dynamically updated set of recommendations of organisations that are demonstrably reducing atmospheric greenhouse gases”.

“It seems like Coldplay is achieving much of its emissions reductions via offsetting,” says Stein in an email. “But the carbon offset market is rife with over-promises, and in general it's pretty safe to assume that most carbon offsets are not actually causing emissions to decrease….They specifically mention that one of the things they will do is plant trees, and this intervention in particular is not well-supported by research. For instance, a recent study found that ‘decades of tree planting have had almost no impact on forest canopy cover or rural livelihoods’.”...

“We probably wouldn't specifically chastise Coldplay for going on tour, since their tour is taking place in a complicated global system in which almost anything that anyone does requires energy and emits carbon,” agrees Dan Stein.

“It's our view that guilting people about flying or eating meat is not the way out of the climate crisis. This isn't going to work and is going to cause backlash. Instead, we believe that everyone should work together to support systemic change to our energy system. As super-famous musicians, Coldplay can play a part in that, but I think that by just focusing on their own carbon footprint they are taking a very self-centered view of the problem, when instead they could be fighting for systemic changes that really matter.”

Read the full article in The Telegraph.

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