Coldplay, and in particular frontman Chris Martin, are known for their political stunts but this weekend is a first, even for them. Their gig at Emirates Palace on Saturday will be entirely carbon neutral to coincide with 'Earth Hour'.
Organisers have decided to help fund a wind farm in New Zealand to offset all energy consumed in putting on the event. The show is being held at the Emirates Palace hotel on the same night as Earth Hour, when lights will be turned off in buildings around the world, including the UAE, to promote energy conservation. The organisers estimate that the show will generate around 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Because of the practical difficulty of pulling the plug on a stadium full of people during a concert, the promoters will buy wind farm energy credits to show their support.
In addition there will be recycling bins on site, an Earth Hour video will be shown before the band come on stage and leaflets will be handed out to those attending. The organisers, Flash, announced the carbon-offsetting programme yesterday. It is funded by Enviromena Power Systems, based in Abu Dhabi, with support from the World Wildlife Fund.
“We can’t switch off the power because of health and safety issues,” said John Lickrish, the managing director of Flash. “But what we can do is reach out to the people in the community and speak to them directly. What we will do is to offset all the energy consumption, for example from the people travelling to the event and the band who are departing. We will then purchase gold credits.”
Enviromena compiled a detailed estimate of the emissions the event is likely to cause. The 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide include the amounts generated by flying an entourage of 40 people from Hong Kong and on to London, by the amplifiers and lighting rigs, by the cars of the estimated 15,000 people attending the show and by the waste created.
“At the end of that, you come up with a carbon number and that is offset by investment in projects such as the wind farm one we are investing in with the project in New Zealand,” said Sami Khoreibi, the president of Enviromena Power Systems, who are doing a deal with the UK-based Carbon Neutral Company to fund the wind farm.
Elsewhere, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai will darken during Earth Hour hour, along with other buildings across the country. The UAE’s climate means a lot of energy is used in air conditioning, making it difficult for the country to shed its wasteful reputation. “You are dealing with very difficult climate conditions here, this is one of the problems,” Mr Lickrish said. “We can do our little bit at events, but really for us it’s about driving awareness and saying, ‘Guys, it’s not that difficult.’”