Thursday, July 5, 2007

"Live Earth" Concerts, Reaction in the UK

The politicalization of global warming is a world-wide phenomena, as the Al Gore's series of up-coming world-wide global warming "Live Earth" concerts demonstrates. Very few people bother to learn about the science behind global warming. Most just accept what they are told. The Earth is warming, man's pollution is the cause and every weather disaster is the result.

We are told the situation is desperate. We must act now and the solution is to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Not only do few people understand the science, fewer people yet comprehend the economic implications of trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is not about science, or the environment, it is about political control, pure and simple. The issue is not going away any time soon.


As Gore Concerts Loom, UK Greens Step Up Lobbying

By Kevin McCandless Correspondent July 05, 2007 London ( -

As Al Gore prepares to kick off his world-wide global warming concerts on Saturday, a British environmental group has launched an Internet lobbying blitz for tougher climate laws. As part of the drive to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) -- a gas frequently blamed for climate change -- Friends of the Earth has set up a website that allows people to send videos to their members of parliament. Once users register with The Big Ask website, they will be able to upload homemade videos along with a personal message to their constituency MP, urging the lawmaker to vote for stricter environmental laws.

Hollywood stars such as Jude Law and Gillian Anderson have already made their own videos, which Friends of the Earth hopes to use to influence debate on a climate change bill set to be introduced in the House of Commons in the fall. Friends of the Earth spokesman Neil Verlander said the lobbying campaign actually has been underway since 2005, with over 170,000 people either writing or e-mailing parliament. The new thrust was designed to engage many more young people, a group not generally considered to be interested in politics.

Based on recent consultations, Verlander said it appeared the government would introduce a climate bill that included loopholes for the aviation industry and no set mechanism for reducing CO2 emissions."While we think it's a good step forward, we still think it's lacking," he said. "We want a law with teeth. "Verlander said his organization wants an annual three percent decrease in carbon emissions, with stronger powers for parliament to ensure this happens.

Along with the Big Ask campaign, Verlander said he hopes the Live Earth concerts this weekend will help to raise awareness of the need to fight climate change. Sponsored by former Vice President Gore, the Live Earth concerts will take place at 10 locations on all seven continents and will showcase around 150 popular music acts.

The Manifesto Club, a British civil libertarian group, has sharply criticized Live Earth, calling it just one more example of the degraded state of politics. Club spokesman James Panton told Cybercast News Service that "pop concert politics" was becoming the model politicians were using to communicate with the voters, a model he said was characterized by punchy sound bites and an attempt to impose a non-existent consensus.

Although organizers have said that Live Earth would encourage a debate on global warming, Panton said that the only political engagement concertgoers would need would be to "nod their heads and sway to the music." "It's a pop concert ... it's not reaching out to people," he said. "You're not engaging them politically." Panton said the question of global warming was still an open one but events like Live Earth would help to crush the kind of free debate countries need to resolve natural crises.

He said the Big Ask campaign sounded like a perfect example of the passivity encouraged by events like Live Earth. Although people might make videos themselves, Friends of the Earth would do the actual lobbying. Mark Lattimer, a leading human rights lobbyist, said the Internet could be useful for pressure groups but that its effect is limited. Although the Internet allows groups to show legislators that they have the support of many different people, mass emails often get deleted unread and unseen, he said. Lattimer said MPs usually take notice of an issue if they get more than 15 letters on relating to the subject, but those letters would have to be genuine, not a barrage of preprinted forms. In the end, short of threatening an MP with a lawsuit, the best way to get their attention is through old-fashioned face-to-face lobbying, he said.

See Earlier Story:Supporters Defend Gore Climate Concerts (June 15, 2007)

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