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Surveying the Impact of Live Earth on American Public Opinion

Live Earth was a global concert event to “combat the climate crisis,” featuring over 150 of the world’s leading musicians and held on 7 continents on July 7, 2007. It reached an estimated global audience of over 2 billion through ticket sales, television, radio, and the internet. Live Earth was the most recent of a series of global concert events, such as The Concert for Bangladesh (1971), Live Aid (1985), Live 8 (2005), etc., intended to either raise money and/or public awareness about pressing global issues. These concert events have each received great media attention, global audiences, and in some cases raised hundreds of millions of dollars for their respective causes, yet their actual impact on public awareness, concern, and behavior is almost completely unknown. Other than numbers of tickets sold and dollars raised, there have previously been no attempts to evaluate the impact of these events on the attitudes and behavior of the public. To assess the impact of Live Earth on American public opinion, The Yale Project on Climate Change, Gallup, and the ClearVision Institute conducted two nationally representative surveys in the United States. The first survey was conducted one week prior to Live Earth, and measured American global warming beliefs, attitudes, preferences, and behaviors. Using the same questionnaire, the second survey was conducted two weeks after Live Earth. The results of the two national surveys were compared to determine whether American opinion as a whole had shifted. Additionally, the second survey asked if respondents had tuned in to Live Earth. Subsequent analysis was thus able to compare the global warming beliefs, attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of Live Earth “watchers” vs. “non-watchers.”