U2's World Tour Has The Carbon Footprint of a Trip To Mars. Or Does It?


Images from Mark Reed at the Final Word, who had quite a good time.

Bono makes a big deal about being an environmentalist, even if members of the band can't quite figure out the green architectural world in Dublin and Malibu. But blog headlines are screaming "Environmentalists Slam U2’s Earth-Hurting 360° Tour" and even The Guardian writes "Environmentalists claim the Irish stadium rockers' tour will create enough carbon to send Bono and the boys to Mars."

Which environmentalists?


Well, it turns out to be one maybe-environmentalist, a Helen Roberts of a UK carbon consultancy called Carbon Footprint. It keeps being called an "Environmental organization," which isn't exactly correct, it is a business that sells carbon calculators, a proprietary green label, carbon offsets and "Helps you save costs, reduce emissions, meet your legal requirements and win more customers."

She is quoted as saying:

"The carbon footprint generated by U2's 44 concerts this year is equal to carbon created by the four band members travelling the 34.125 million miles from Earth to Mars in a passenger plane."


" Just looking at the 44 concerts this year, the band will create enough carbon to fly all 90,000 people attending one of their Wembley concerts to Dublin. To offset this year's carbon emissions, U2 would need to plant 20,118 trees."

It may well be true. But who can tell? If someone on TreeHugger made such a claim, we would have to back it up with a few numbers. If an environmental consultancy makes the claim, they better have something on the website. Nothing comes up in search, no press release can be found in their news, but they will sell you a pretty label.


I have no doubt that there is a huge footprint to the tour. But "Environmentalists" are not complaining, a consultant in the carbon offset business is. If their job is selling offsets and branding companies as green with their little label, then they have some small obligation to back it up.

Otherwise it just smells like self-promotion as they provide fodder for all the climate change deniers to spend the next year Algoring Bono and the band.

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