Eurovision host Liverpool has become the first UK city to commit to the Paris agreement for major live events.
The city will only issue permits to those shows 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 the number of cars visitors use for events.
The council took the step after research released on Tuesday found that car trips to festivals accounted for a significant proportion of an event’s climate emissions, but were typically not included in the festival’s carbon footprint.
All major festivals and events must obtain permits 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 measurements. .
The Paris agreement was signed in 2015 by 196 countries to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C until the end of the century.
The study, from the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester, found that festivals can significantly reduce their emissions by reducing parking spaces.
The researchers estimated the negative impact of audiences traveling to eight major UK festivals, including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds. They estimated that Bestival had the highest carbon footprint per ticket holder, while Glasgow’s TRNSMT had the lowest, due to having fewer parking spaces.
They calculated that festivals can halve their overall carbon emissions by reducing parking by 70% and offering more travel options such as train, bus or active travel such as cycling.
Although the numbers were very approximate, as no data on carbon emissions caused by traveling to festivals was collected, the researchers estimated that reducing car use in Glastonbury by 20% could save around 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. if reduced car use was replaced by train and bus arrival.
The survey was commissioned by ACT 1.5, an independent group of event producers supported by Arts Council England which emerged from a 2021 survey on the decarbonization of live music by 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 huge potential to reduce emissions by gradually reducing the number of private vehicles that audiences used to get to the venue. local.
ACT 1.5 producer Mark Donne said it was “brilliant to see a world-iconic music city like Liverpool pave the way for climate action” and that the Tyndall Center’s research demonstrated that major music festivals were still not doing enough to combat emissions”.
He added: “As in all areas of life, we must learn to do things differently now if we have a hell of a hope of keeping global warming at safe levels. Urgent action must include activities that are most popular and that we as a society most appreciate.”
The new permits will start next year and will require progressively greener measures for events held over the next five years.