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Massive Attack to share touring data in bid to map music industry’s carbon footprint

The band are working with academics from Manchester University to gather data from their tours and recording sessions

Massive Attack are joining forces with academics to provide data from their touring and recording schedule that will contribute to analysis of the music industry’s carbon footprint.

The Bristol band have partnered with Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to assess three key areas where CO2 emissions are generated: band travel and production, audience transport, and venue. Data will be gathered from the band’s forthcoming tour.

The news comes a week after Coldplay revealed they would pause touring until they find a carbon neutral solution to playing concerts across the globe.

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As The Guardian reports, the purpose of the study is to provide information and guidance to the wider music industry in an effort to reduce harmful effects on the environment as the climate change crisis deepens.

Writing in a separate article in the publication, Massive Attack’s vocalist Robert “3D” Del Naja noted: “In an emergency context, business as usual – regardless of its nature, high profile or popularity – is unacceptable.”

Massive Attack playing at the Marble Arch Extinction Rebellion camp. Several roads were blocked across four sites in central London, by the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests, April 2019

He added that his band have been trying to help tackle the climate crisis for nearly two decades. This has included banning the use of single-use plastics, travelling by train where feasible and paying to have trees planted.

However, Del Naja and his bandmate Grant “Daddy G” Marshall had determined that “offsetting creates an illusion that high-carbon activities enjoyed by wealthier individuals can continue, by transferring the burden of action and sacrifice to others – generally those in the poorer nations in the southern hemisphere”.

Del Naja added that, despite wishing to continue to perform live concerts, a “seismic change” is needed with regards to safeguarding the planet’s future. “Given the current polarised social atmosphere, uplifting and unifying cultural events are arguably more important now than ever, and no one would want to see them postponed or even cancelled,” he wrote in the article. “The challenge therefore is to avoid more pledges, promises and greenwashing headlines and instead embrace seismic change.”

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Dr Chris Jones, a research fellow at Tyndall Manchester, told The Guardian: “We will be working with Massive Attack to look at sources of carbon emissions from a band’s touring schedule. Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this one to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board.

“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances. It will likely mean a major shift in how things are done now, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience.”

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