Monday, July 7, 2008

Al Gore and the Live Earth Concerts: Where's the Money?

Today is the one year anniversary of the Live Earth concerts. To this day the organizers have refused to disclose the size of the gross take or the net charitable contributions. As Intelligent Giving put it last year:

What on (Live) Earth is going on?

WHAT IS LIVE EARTH FOR? We don't know. And neither, it seems, does anyone else.

In principle, this weekend's global mega-concerts are designed to raise awareness of climate change. But if you want to know what happens to the money raised from the hundreds of thousands of £55 tickets, you'll be hard-pressed to find out.

We've been trying to get to the bottom of this for over a week. We still haven't found an answer. The organization's various spokespeople seem very confused:

  • First, we emailed The Climate Group (see profile). They told us to speak to Live Earth's UK agent.
  • The UK agent told us that the money would be split between The Alliance for Climate Protection, an American outfit backed by Al Gore, and "other NGO's".
  • She then told us we had to speak to a representative of the Alliance in California. We sent her an email. She didn't respond.
  • Then we spoke to Friends of the Earth, mainly because we we were running out of people to consult. They told us to speak to Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of campaigning organizations.
  • Stop Climate Chaos told us that the Live Earth proceeds would all be shipped to the (US-based) Alliance. This contradicted what the concert's UK agent told us.
  • Then we found an article on the BBC News website which suggested that the money would be split up before it reached the Alliance. It would be distributed between the Alliance, The Climate Group, and Stop Climate Chaos.
  • We called The Climate Group. The passed us on to Freud Communications, and their representative told us that all money would go to the Alliance.
  • It was time for an international call: we rang the Alliance. A spokesman said that the money would indeed all come to them, but that it would then be sent back to the countries where the concerts were held, to help with local projects.
  • The nice spokesman told us that there was a Plan which detailed how the money was to be split up. But it hasn't been published yet, apparently.
  • To clear our heads, we had a look at the Alliance's website. This told us that the Alliance would use its money to lobby the US government to change the laws on climate change in America. No mention of a Plan, or of redistributing the proceeds to participating countries....MORE