Initiative / 13 Oct, 2017
#Art4Climate - Top Musicians Sing out in Support of Paris

This article is the latest in our series #Art4Climate, a joint initiative by the secretariat of UN Climate Change and Julie’s Bicycle on the work of artists who make the issue of climate change more accessible and understandable by featuring it in their work. It was inspired by a session at the Salzburg Global Seminar in early 2017.

Top musical acts are coming together on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn (COP23, 6 – 17 November) in support of international climate action. The “Pathway to Paris” concert on 5 November at Carnegie Hall in New York will assemble internationally renowned musicians and speakers such as Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Talib Kweli, Bill McKibben and Flea, among others, for an evening of musical performances and inspiring speeches.

The concert is part of the non profit initiative “Pathway to Paris” and supported by and the UN Development Programme. The initiative is based on the idea that not only government leaders have the power to tackle climate change and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, which has the target of keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius, and ideally below 1.5 degrees, but broad swathes of society.

“Keeping these issues in the cultural consciousness keeps them alive, makes it real, brings it directly to the people, it is a passionate, emotional, genuine call to action. The hope is that creative initiatives like Pathway to Paris will reach new audiences, increase the numbers of people who join the climate movement, and will inspire action today,” says co-founder Jesse Paris Smith.

“Achieving the promise of the Paris Agreement requires perseverance now, next year, and in 20 years. Maintaining momentum on the Paris Agreement, raising awareness and ensuring public support are efforts that we must continue into and well beyond COP23,” says Carl Mercer of United Nations Development Programme. “The real measure of success will be the actions on the ground from countless people, businesses, communities, and cities.”


Jesse and Rebecca

Founders Rebecca Foon and Jesse Paris Smith were inspired by the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York, which helped build momentum for the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement. Photo: Steven Sebring

About the Pathway to Paris Initiative

The first live event was launched in September 2014, with the aim of raising consciousness and funds for climate action in the lead-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where the Paris Agreement was clinched. Since then, the project has provided a platform for musicians, artists, speakers, activists, academics, climate change experts, innovators and politicians to come together and raise awareness of climate change, with a shared goal of pushing for concerted action to make the Paris Agreement a reality.

“Art and music are powerful drivers for social change,” said co-founder Rebecca Foon, who will also perform at the concert as a cellist. “Creative initiatives inspire action and climate change impacts all of us; it is the most critical issue of our time. We need to act now in order to maintain a livable planet and we all need to be part of this transition away from fossil fuels. It requires a global effort, and requires humanity to truly unite.”

Internationally renowned musicians and speakers come together to inspire action and solutions to climate change on the ground

Since being launched, the Pathway to Paris initiative has also enabled a series of other events including smaller-scale concerts in New York, Montréal and Paris as well as high-level talks in order to increase awareness of climate change and highlight the necessity of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

Three Pathway to Paris benefit albums have also been released so far, with all proceeds going to and the United Nations Development Programme. To honor International Women’s Day in March this year, Pathway to Paris released a live recording of John Lennon’s “Imagine” which was performed by a partnership of renowned musicians on the first day of NYC Climate Week.


The live recording of the 2016 Pathway to Paris concert, entitled 'Maintaining the Momentum : A Call to Action on Climate,” features inspiring performances by musicians and speakers.

How to Get Tickets for the Event

Pathway to Paris will take place on the evening of 5 November at Carnegie Hall in New York. All proceeds from the event will go to, Pathway to Paris, and UNDP, to facilitate further action and innovation in the future.

To find out more, visit the Pathway to Paris website and the UN Development Programme article.

To buy tickets for the concert, visit Carnegie Hall.

#Art4Climate is a joint initiative by the UNFCCC and Julie’s Bicycle to spot and propose super recent and new works in this broad field, but we also want to hear from you! Please send any proposals for showcasing to or
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