Pearl Jam guitarist sees business key to climate

Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:33am EDT
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By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - While many people dream of becoming a rock star, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard says he is trying to be more of a businessman to help slow climate change.

The U.S. band, which has sold 60 million albums since 1991, said Monday it was investing $210,000 to plant trees in Washington State to soak up an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide linked to a 32-date 2009 tour.

"Pearl Jam is a band but we are also a business," guitarist and co-founder Gossard told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"We're seeing ourselves as a Washington business, a regional business that is acknowledging its carbon footprint and hoping to inspire other businesses."

Many leading musicians have sought to raise awareness about the risks of climate change, often by planting trees, and culminating in "Live Earth" concerts in July 2007 across seven continents.

But Gossard, 43, said celebrity-driven inspiration was often short-lived. "The idea of a celebrity is fantastic in terms of raising awareness for a day or a week, but it needs consistent business policy in the long term," he said.

He said there were good business arguments for investing in climate measures -- even though opinion polls in the United States show dwindling belief that mankind causes global warming. Carbon-capping legislation is stalled in the U.S. Senate.

"It's doable. It's not going to kill your company and if anything it will enhance your company's ability to sell whatever it is selling by being good stewards of the land," he said.   Continued...

<p>Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard performs during a sold-out show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 6, 2003. REUTERS/Ethan Miller</p>