The boredom caused by endless hours on the tour bus and a succession of anonymous hotel rooms are well known problems, but rock stars on tour now have something else to grumble about: the environmental impact. Thom Yorke, singer with Radiohead, yesterday hit out at the "ridiculous" use of energy by such events, and threatened to stop playing far-flung destinations if steps were not taken to reduce carbon emissions.

He said: "The way that tours are structured now and the way it works is a ridiculous consumption of energy ... I would consider refusing to tour on environmental grounds, if nothing started happening to change the way the touring operates."

Unlike bands such as the Rolling Stones and Coldplay, Radiohead do not offset the carbon emissions caused by their tours, because they are not convinced of the environmental benefits of such schemes, which claim to make activities carbon-neutral by planting trees or investing in renewable energy projects.

Speaking to the Guardian yesterday as part of a climate change campaign by Friends of the Earth, Yorke said: "I think it's a necessary part of what I do, to tour or play live, but I find it unacceptable, what the consequences of that are.

"Some of our best ever shows have been in the US, but there's 80,000 people there and they've all been sitting in traffic jams for five or six hours with their engines running to get there, which is bollocks."

Tours would continue because others in the band did not feel as strongly, he said. "It's all completely la-la. It's daft. When you discuss it you feel like a prat because you're saying I'm not happy with that and I want to do it another way. I want to go to the US by ship. The Cure did that years ago because Robert Smith refused to fly, and then I get told that if you take the ship, that's as much carbon usage."

He added: "Long haul flights just feel wrong. I'm trying to figure out a way of getting to Japan by train. I quite fancy that Trans-Siberian whatsitsname but apparently it's a bit scary."

Friends of the Earth wants the government to introduce new climate change legislation in next month's Queen's speech.

Tony Juniper, the group's director, said: "We need a new law on climate change that sets out a requirement on government to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a specified amount every year."


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