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Live Earth sings out loud to prick global conscience
[July 09, 2007]

Live Earth sings out loud to prick global conscience

(The Birmingham Post Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) A series of global music spectaculars were being staged to highlight the threat of global warming.

The international Live Earth event will see Madonna will headline a gig at London's Wembley Stadium.

Others are scheduled for New York, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Hamburg, although the Rio event may be cancelled over safety fears.

Billed as "the biggest show on earth", the event will be beamed to a worldwide audience of two billion people.

Live Earth is the brainchild of former US vice president and environmental crusader Al Gore.

"By attracting an audience of billions we hope Live Earth will launch a global campaign giving a critical mass of people around the world the tools they need to help solve the climate crisis," he said.

"But ultimately, corporations and governments must become global leaders taking decisive action to stop global warming."

The London line-up includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kasabian, Black Eyed Peas, Duran Duran and Keane. Sir Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake are said to be in talks to appear as surprise guests.

Across the globe, performers include Joss Stone in Johannesburg, The Police in New York and Sarah Brightman in Shanghai.

The London show will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Despite its lofty aims, Live Earth has its detractors - among them Bob Geldof, organiser of Live Aid and its follow-up Live 8.

Geldof said: "I hope they're a success. But why is he (Gore) actually organising them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years."

The concerts will be carbon neutral, with all energy to Wembley Stadium and the other venues supplied by renewable sources.

The 'carbon footprint' of each act is likely to come under scrutiny.

A newly reformed Genesis will perform at Live Earth during the day, before catching a plane to Manchester where they will kick off the UK leg of their reunion tour.

A Live Earth spokesman explained: "They will be flying to Manchester, but as with other artists with many obligations to meet in one day, the alternative was to do nothing at all and not lend their voice to the cause."

That came as the sons of the first men to scale Mount Everest warned that climate change is dramatically affecting the mountain and putting at risk the lives of billions who rely on it for water.

Sir Edmund Hillary's son Edmund and Tenzing Norgay's son Jamling have both climbed Everest and said the mountain is now so ravaged that their fathers would no longer recognise it.

The base camp where the pair began their historic ascent is now 40 metres lower than it was in 1953 and glaciers are melting so fast that the mountain could be barren rock by 2050.

Mr Hillary told the Independent newspaper: "Base camp used to sit at 5,320 metres. This year it was at 5,280 metres because the ice is melting from the top and side."

He added: "For Sherpas living on Mount Everest this is something they can see every day, but they can't do anything about it on their own."

The glacier where Sir Edmund and Norgay pitched their base camp before reaching the summit on May 29, 1953, has retreated three miles in the past 20 years.

Mr Tenzing said: "There are many things my father wouldn't recognise. The glacier on which base camp sits has melted to such a degree that it is now at a lower altitude. I think the whole face of the mountain is changing."

Rapid melting of glaciers in the past few years has created huge lakes, raising fears among scientists that they could overflow into each other in a cascade effect.

If this does happen, thousands could be killed and agriculture could be wiped out for a generation.

Sir Edmund's son likened the effect of glacial lakes bursting their banks to the impact of an atomic bomb, saying it was "just catastrophic".

He added: "The floods of the past are unfortunately nothing compared with the size of what we are currently threatened with."

The evidence is all around us

For evidence of Britain's changing climate we need look no further than our back gardens.

In 2003 frogspawn was found in water at a site near Penzance in Cornwall as early as December 19.

The previous year a Woodland Trust survey recorded five sightings of bumble bees in December including one two days before Christmas and 56 the following January.

A study in 2004 cited 24 observations of primroses around the country by mid-January, including as far north as Northumberland.

In January of this year, the world's largest flower the Titan arum - which stinks of rotting flesh - went into bloom at the Eden Project in Cornwall months earlier than expected because of a unseasonably warm temperatures.

There have been several reports of the migratory painted lady butterfly spending all winter in the UK.

Basking sharks have been spotted in Scotland, apparently pursuing their food plankton in search of cooler waters.

Four years ago there was a credible sighting of a great white shark off the coast of Devon.

Copyright 2007 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd , Source: The Financial Times Limited

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