Can Massive Attack’s New Plan Help Reduce Carbon Emissions in the Music Industry?

The group teamed up with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to figure out a better way forward for live music

Massive Attack performs during Electric Picnic 2018 at Stradbally Hall Estate on September 1, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland
Robert Del Naja (L) and Daddy G (R) of Massive Attack perform during Electric Picnic 2018.

Back in 2019, legendary electronic group Massive Attack teamed up with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to commission a study of carbon emissions in the live music industry and promised to “present options that can be implemented quickly” to reduce said emissions. Now, two years later, the band has released its findings in a new document titled “Super-Low Carbon Live Music: A Roadmap for the UK Live Music Sector to Play Its Part in Tackling the Climate Crisis,” as reported by Pitchfork.

According to the study, if the industry is to achieve “rapidly accelerated” progress, it must immediately eliminate private jet use, switch to electric transportation to and from concerts and festivals, and phase out the use of diesel generators at festivals by 2025. The plan also suggests “plug and play models for venues,” which would reduce the burden of transporting gear.

“Super low carbon needs to be baked into every decision,” the report notes, “including routing, venues, transport modes, set, audio and visual design, staffing, and promotion.” It also points out that carbon offsetting should only be used as a last resort when implementing further carbon reductions is impossible. But how does the industry get to a place where following these new guidelines is feasible?

“What matters now is implementation,” Massive Attack’s Robert “3D” del Naja said in a statement about the findings. “The major promotors simply must do more — it can’t be left to artists to continually make these public appeals. 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 decarbonized food supply for a live music sector that generates £4.6 billion [$6.36 billion] for the economy every year and employs more than 200,000 dedicated people? It simply doesn’t exist.”

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