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Coldplay to pause touring, citing environmental reasons

Chris Martin
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs onstage at the Rogers Centre on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Copyright Arthur Mola Invision / AP file
Copyright Arthur Mola Invision / AP file
By Ben Kesslen with NBC News Tech and Science News
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Chris Martin, the band's frontman, said the carbon footprint of their tour is too large to justify.


Coldplay wants to press pause on our planet's warming.

The British band announced that they won't tour until they can find a way to make their concerts more environmentally.

The band's front-man Chris Martin made the announcement to the BBC on Thursday ahead of the Friday release of their new album, "Everyday Life."

They will play two shows in Jordan, which they will broadcast to the world via YouTube instead of touring their new album, Martin said, whose representatives did not return NBC News' request for comment.

"We're taking time over the next year or two, to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial," Martin said in an interview with the BBC's Colin Paterson.

Coldplay's last tour for their "A Head Full of Dreams Kaleidoscope" album spanned five continents, where the band played 122 shows and grossed more than $500 million.

But Coldplay wants their next tour to be carbon neutral and plastic-free, Martin said. The band's ultimate goal is to find a way to make their concerts a net-positive for the environment, but Martin said the hardest part of going green is the environmental impact of air travel.

It's a difficult goal, but not an entirely impossible one, experts in the environmental impacts of concerts told NBC news.

Concerts produce a huge amount of plastic waste and have a large carbon footprint, Adam Gardner, founder and co-director of Reverb, an environmental non-profit that specializes in helping make tours more sustainable, told NBC News.

Gardner's organization has worked with the likes of Dave Matthews Band and Maroon 5 to help cut down waste on tour. He said one thing many groups already do is bring attention to local environmental issues in the community where they are touring. Gardner also said buying carbon offsets as a way to neutralize the effects of a tour can go a long way.

"Our philosophy is that it's not all or nothing," Gardner said. "Not touring and not having live music exist isn't feasible, but there's lots more that can be done."

Fine Stammnitz, a member of the Green Touring Network, a Germany-based group that has outlined ways to make concerts more sustainable, suggests bands encourage their fans to travel to concerts together and only perform in venues accessible by public transit. The Network says audience travel accounts for one-third of a tour's carbon footprint, and venues account for another third.

Stammnitz praised Coldplay's decision, calling it "drastic" but saying it could do a lot to inform people about the environmental toll of a major concert.

"Even if Coldplay fans are sad, they will at least be aware that this topic is super important," she said.

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