Gore campaigns cause with concerts

Music event to spread word on global warming

Former vice president Al Gore announced on Thursday a collection of concerts over seven continents on July 7, adopting the “Live 8” event formula to further spread the word of the threat of climate change.

“Save Our Selves — the Campaign for a Climate in Crisis” is intended to trigger a broad movement to address what Gore calls a global climate crisis. The “Save Our Selves” campaign was founded by Kevin Wall, the worldwide exec producer of “Live 8” who is now CEO of Control Room, a provider of live digital entertainment.

The “Live Earth” concerts will be held in cities on all seven continents: Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg and London are set, while details are being worked out for shows in the U.S., Brazil, Japan (there’ll be two events in Asia) and Antarctica.

More than 100 artists will appear, Wall said, among them the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Snoop Dog, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Snow Patrol, Mana, Kelly Clarkson and Bloc Party. The Black Eyed Peas are working on a theme song for the event.

At a press conference held at L.A.’s California Science Center — where he was joined by Wall, Pharrell Williams, Mana and Cameron Diaz — Gore said the July 7 events will kick off a “mass persuasion campaign” intended to take his efforts against global warming to the next level. He said the campaigns will outline ways that viewers, companies and governments can take action.

“We can solve it — we will solve it,” Gore said. “But we will only solve it when enough people in the world get the message.”

Promoters said the concerts could reach 2 billion people through attendance or broadcasts, and they hope to attract 1 million to the event themselves. Proceeds will create a foundation to combat climate change led by the Alliance for Climate Protection, which Gore chairs.

NBC and sister networks such as Telemundo and Bravo will have the broadcast rights in the U.S., while the BBC will have the rights in Britain. “Live Earth” will be broadcast on MSN.com at Web site Liveearth.msn.com, which is up and running. Current TV, in which Gore is an investor, will show promos and viewer-generated messages. Sirius and XM will provide coverage.

Gore said details of the Antarctic portion of the concerts are still being worked out. “As of this morning, I got a call from friends in the scientific community that we have found a way to originate on July 7, in the middle of what is winter in Antarctica, the first live musical performance originating from Antarctica, so that all of the continents will be represented during this amazing 24 hours of concerts.”

Wall’s “Live 8” concerts, held in 2005 on the 20th anniversary of “Live Aid,” were staged in 10 cities, including Moscow, Philadelphia and London, with the goal of spreading the message of eliminating poverty. They were held just prior to the G8 meeting, and rock stars and activists used the forum to ask that the eight major powers of the world forgive the debts of African nations, create fair trade agreements to feed the starving and establish AIDS education and treatment programs. The concerts were a combination of entertainment and education, not fund-raising events like “Live Aid.”

With “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore has burnished his image beyond that of a politician, and SOS and the concerts will be a way to extend his message even further into the pop-culture sphere.

He and other principals in “Inconvenient Truth” have made various efforts to keep the campaign going; Gore has trained a crop of volunteers, including Diaz, to perform his slide presentation.

Producer Lawrence Bender has been speaking to groups, such as a recent retreat of Democrats in the California State Assembly, and next week is planning to announce details of a new campaign in conjunction with Yahoo! and other companies to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Producer Laurie David plans go on a bus tour in the southern U.S. this spring with Sheryl Crow, among other activities.

“The movie is a beginning point,” Bender said earlier this week. “It is not the end.”

At the California Science Center, where the press conference was staged, news crews and reporters were greeted by a series of musical notes representing the Morse code sound of an SOS distress call. Wall said the musical notes will be used to brand the July 7 event, as well as the campaign on radio stations, ringtones and public service announcements, along with the visual graphics of three dots, three dashes and three dots.

Given the number of press representatives in the room, Gore was inevitably asked whether he plans to jump into the 2008 race. “I have no intention of running for president again,” he said. “I’m running a different kind of campaign.”

Nor did he want to guess whether “Truth” had a lock on this year’s documentary Oscar, saying the he did not want to “jinx” its chances.

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