Pharrell announces Live Earth gigs to mobilise climate action

The musician behind smash hit Happy will head up concerts on 18 June to build momentum for a global climate deal

Pharrell Williams: "I am very happy and proud to be a part of this moment for our species." (Pic: Screenshot, WEF webcast)

Pharrell Williams: “I am very happy and proud to be a part of this moment for our species.” (Pic: Screenshot, WEF webcast)

By Megan Darby

Pharrell Williams is to lead Live Earth concerts across all seven continents on 18 June, he revealed at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

The platinum-selling musician behind smash hit Happy told business leaders in Davos “we are literally going to have humanity harmonised all at once”.

The gigs are expected to reach an audience of 2 billion people, both live and through worldwide broadcasts, and mobilise support for climate action.

Williams, who performed at 2007’s Live Earth concert in Rio, said he had been ridiculed by commentators who did not agree with the message.

But following a speech by Al Gore, Williams said: “After seeing such an incredible presentation and watching the news, I think you guys know how serious the global warming thing is.”

The purpose is “to have a billion voices saying: ‘climate action now,’” Gore chipped in. It is hoped this will build momentum for a strong global climate deal this December in Paris.

There will be concerts in cities including Paris and New York, which last year saw the biggest ever climate march. A band has even been signed up to play in Antarctica.

Gore, a former US vice president turned climate campaigner, set the scene for this announcement with a series of images of the devastation climate change is wreaking and the opportunities to address it.

He highlighted the link between burning fossil fuels and extreme impacts, from the deadly Typhoon Haiyan to droughts leading to food riots.

On an upbeat note, Gore showed that renewable technology growth had outpaced predictions and many countries were introducing carbon prices.

“This is the year of climate,” he said. “The Paris negotiation is crucial. In order to secure its success, we need political will – but political will is a renewable resource.”

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