Live Earth Issues Final Assessment Report

by | Oct 31, 2007

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Following a ten-week audit, Live Earth has issued a final report (PDF) on the energy reduction and waste diversion efforts surrounding its July concerts, saying it met its goal in restraining carbon emissions to 19,708 metric tons and diverting 81 percent of waste collected from landfills through recycling and composting efforts.

Live Earth produced a final pre-event estimate of 18,526 metric tons of carbon emissions. After the event, Live Earth completed a carbon assessment. It calculated gross carbon emissions, both for the concert day itself and throughout its ten-month planning and execution process.

The greatest area of carbon emissions was audience travel where a great majority (87%) of emissions were generated by almost one million people who attended the concerts in person. In Shanghai and Tokyo, more than three-fourths of the audience rode public transportation. Even in the New York region, where the concert took place at Giants Stadium, 23 percent of attendees chose to ride trains and buses to the venue. While 99 percent of musicians chose commercial airlines for required flight, for ground transportation of artists Live Earth partnered with Smart car for a fleet of vehicles, and Bluetec and E-Class Mercedes fueled exclusively by biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Live Earth also generated an estimated 97 metric tons of waste. About 79 tons (81%) was diverted from landfills through recycling and compositing, with Tokyo reaching 99 percent (organic waste there is incinerated to produce energy). In the city generating the most waste, New York, 6.2 tons went to landfills of the 25.9 tons created, representing a 76 percent diversion rate. Given that the most significant component of waste is related to food/refreshments concessions, a corps of Live Earth volunteers and staff supervised collection stations at most concerts, ensuring that recyclables were sorted apart from organic compostable material and trash.

On average, each of Live Earth’s stadium concerts emitted between 300-400 metric tons of carbon as a result of the events themselves. This includes activities of the production team and contractors, but excluding artists and audiences, which accounted for an additional 900-4,500 tons, varying by venue depending on the size of the audience, the availability of non-automotive transit and the catchment area of each event. For future benchmarking of live stadium events which adopt similar energy-saving measures, Live Earth suggests using 300 tons for production and 1,000 tons for audience and artist travel.

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