WHAT TO SEE: Linfen, Shanxi province, a city the World Bank says has the worst air quality on Earth, as a result of vast amounts of factories, mines, and homes that all burn coal. China is opening an average of two coal-fired electricity-generating plants each week. The country’s carbon-dioxide emissions surpassed the US level for the first time in 2006, though Chinese officials note that per capita, China’s emissions are one-fourth of America’s, and half of Britain’s.
WEBCAM: Shanghai’s air isn’t that clean, either. See what the folks attending the concert are breathing.
WHERE: Arena at Hamburg, Hamburg
WHO: Chris Cornell, Jan Delay, Juli, Katie Melua, Lotto King Karl, Maná, Michael Mittermeier, Sasha, Silbermond, Reamonn, Roger Cicero, Snoop Dogg, Mando Diao, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira
WHAT TO SEE: The Vernagtferner glacier, in the Otztal Alps, near Innsbruck, Austria. This glacier is one of the fastest-retreating in the world, having lost one-third of its area and more than half its mass in the past 100 years.
WEBCAM: This view of a ski lift at a mountain resort in Bayerisch Eisenstein, Bayern province, will tell you how much snow is falling and how fast it’s melting — both key elements of glacier-mass changes. (Yeah, it’s summer now. Keep checking back.)
WHERE: Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Kanto region, Honshu island
WHO: Linkin Park, Rihanna, Ai Otsuka, Cocco, Genki Rockets, Kumi Koda, Rip Slyme, Rize, Ayaka, UA, Abingdon Boys School, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Rihanna, Bonnie Pink, AI, Michael Nyman
WHAT TO SEE: Well, there’s always the Kyoto International Conference Hall in Sakyo ward, Kyoto, where the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions was negotiated back in December 1997. (Nearly a decade later, and the US Senate hasn’t ratified it.) But also head to the Tohoku region, north of Tokyo, to the rice paddies, which are seeing increased production of the country’s staple food as a result of warmer temperatures. At the same time, wheat production throughout the country is falling.
WEBCAM: Pay attention to the streets of Tokyo — if a massive rice-fed monster isn’t trampling through them, maybe there’s hope. SOUTH AFRICA
WHERE: The Cradle of Humankind, Maropeng, Gauteng Province (near Johannesburg)
WHO: UB40, Joss Stone, Angelique Kidjo, Baaba Maal, Danny K, the Parlotones, Soweto Gospel Choir, Vusi Mahlasela, Zola
WHAT TO SEE: The Karoo National Park, a desert ecosystem designated as a “biodiversity hot spot,” with as many as 2000 plant species found nowhere else on Earth. The area is being monitored for its reaction to climbing temperatures, and scientists have already found that some young plants aren’t doing well, because they can’t store enough water to survive the heat.
WEBCAM: Watch for signs of plants in distress in the forest and mountain view. UNITED KINGDOM
WHERE: Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London
WHO: Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, Bloc Party, Corinne Bailey Rae, Damien Rice, David Gray, Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Genesis, James Blunt, John Legend, Keane, Madonna, Paolo Nutini, Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow Patrol, Metallica, Kasabian, Terra Naomi, Spinal Tap, Pussycat Dolls