Gore seeks new venue for climate concert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Plans by environment crusader Al Gore for a climate change rock concert at the U.S. Capitol are running into some Republican opposition.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks during a book signing event for the Japanese version of his book "An Inconvenient Truth", in Tokyo January 14, 2007. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

The former Democratic presidential candidate wanted to hold one of seven worldwide “Live Earth” concerts on the National Mall in the U.S. capital on July 7 but two other groups secured that space for events.

An alternative to use the Capitol’s west lawn -- proposed by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine -- now is on hold in the U.S. Senate.

And the concert organizers are looking for another host city.

“While it’s unfortunate for the American people that we are being blocked from staging the U.S. concert in our nation’s capital, the show must go on, even if it’s in another city,” said Chad Griffin, a senior adviser to the Live Earth effort.

“This will bring tremendous revenue and worldwide exposure to whatever U.S. city ends up hosting,” he added.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky last week objected to approving the resolution to hold the concert on the Capitol grounds because he and the Senate Rules Committee had not yet reviewed it.

Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, a leading critic of Gore’s environment efforts, opposes the move as well though he has not moved to block it. Individual senators can block legislation.

“Senator Inhofe objects to having any events on the Capitol grounds that are either highly partisan or politically controversial -- and the proposed Gore concert is both,” said spokesman Marc Morano.

Inhofe has referred to global warming as a “hoax”. Gore argues the world is facing a “planetary emergency” and wants an immediate freeze on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition to the American concert, others will be held on the other six continents: Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, Brazil, Japan and Antarctica.

Slated to play are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Melissa Etheridge, and close Gore friend rock star Jon Bon Jovi, among others.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty hopes it will take place in the heavily Democratic city.

“We hope that things are resolved so that Mr. Gore can have his event and promote his environment initiative,” said spokeswoman Mafara Hobson.