Eurovision host Liverpool has become the first UK city to commit to the Paris deal for major live events.
The city will issue licenses only to those concerts and festivals that agree to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to help meet climate goals, including using a proportion of renewable energy to power the festival and reducing number of cars that visitors take to events.
The council took the step after research published Tuesday found that car trips to festivals made up a significant proportion of an event’s climate emissions, but were not normally included in the festival’s carbon footprint.
All major festivals and events are required to obtain licenses to operate from local authorities and although 310 local authorities in the UK have officially declared a climate emergency, representing over 75% of all such local authorities, Liverpool is the first to commit to the measures. .
The Paris agreement was signed in 2015 by 196 countries to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C by the end of the century.
The study, from the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, found that festivals could significantly reduce their emissions by reducing parking spaces.
The researchers estimated the negative impact of audiences traveling to eight major festivals in the UK, including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. They estimated that Bestival had the highest carbon output per ticket holder, while Glasgow’s TRNSMT had the lowest, due to having fewer parking spaces.
They calculated that festivals can halve their total carbon emissions by reducing car parking by 70% and providing more options for travel, such as train, coach, or active travel such as biking.
Although the figures were very approximate, as no data on carbon emissions caused by festival travel have been collected, the researchers estimated that reducing car use at Glastonbury by 20% could save around 400 tonnes of carbon emissions. carbon dioxide if reduced car use were replaced by trains and the advent of the shuttle bus.
The inquiry was commissioned by ACT 1.5, an independent Arts Council England-backed group of event producers that grew out of a 2021 inquiry into the decarbonisation of live music from Massive Attack and the Tyndall Centre.
Tyndall’s research found “a double failure of regulation and innovation” when it comes to large live music events, but that there was great potential to reduce emissions by gradually reducing the number of private vehicles the public used to get to the venue. place.
ACT 1.5 producer Mark Donne said it was “brilliant to see a globally iconic music city like Liverpool leading the way for climate action” and that the Tyndall Center’s research showed that major music festivals were still not doing the right thing. enough to address emissions.
He added: “As in all areas of life, we must learn to do things differently now if we hope to keep global warming at safe levels. Urgent action has to include the activities that are most popular and that we as a society enjoy the most.”
The new licenses will start next year and will require progressively greener measures for events held over the next five years.