October 1, 2009 / 6:50 PM / 8 years ago

Former U.N. chief launches anthem for climate change

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched a music video Thursday starring himself, Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu and a global cast of film and music stars calling for progress in climate change talks.

Annan, who is leading a campaign to put pressure on world leaders to secure a deal at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December, unveiled to journalists in Paris a re-worked version of the 1980s protest song “Beds are Burning,” originally performed by Australian group Midnight Oil.

“Time is running out fast. We can all make a difference,” Annan told the news conference.

The collaborative single features a wide range of celebrities ranging from British singer Lily Allen, Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon and singer/activist Bob Geldof to Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard and Tutu.

“Together we can create such noise that our leaders will not be able to ignore it when they meet in Copenhagen to agree on a new post-Kyoto climate agreement,” Annan said.

The former head of the United Nations was joined at the press briefing for the launch by French actress Melanie Laurent, star of Quentin Tarentino’s “Inglourious Basterds” movie, who represented the artists featured on the single.

“A song is not going to change the world but it’s a first step,” she said.

Annan described the single, which can be downloaded for free on the internet, as a “global musical petition.”

Every download will count as a unique digital petition with people adding their names to demand world leaders reach an “ambitious, fair and global” deal in Copenhagen, he said.

Over 1.3 million people have already signed up for the campaign.

“Climate change is the greatest humanitarian challenge facing mankind today...But it is the poorer and least developed nations that are hit the hardest by its impact,” Annan said.

Midnight Oil’s former frontman Peter Garrett is now Australia’s environment minister and although the group did not take part in recording this latest cover, it did rework some of the lyrics to make it directly relevant to climate change.

The original version was a protest song which urged Australia to give land back to the country’s aboriginal people.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, editing by Paul Casciato

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