How long until it's too late to save Earth from climate disaster? A New York City clock is now counting down the time remaining before our CO2 budget is gone
“Metronome" is a mixed-media work that covers a 10-story-high area on the north wall of One Union Square South, a residential high rise in Manhattan. Now, instead of measuring 24-hour cycles, Metronome’s digital clock has adopted a new ecologically and time sensitive mission.
Last weekend, the clock flashed a new message - “The Earth has a deadline” - with the numbers 7:103:15:40:07, which represent the years, days, hours, minutes and seconds until that deadline expires.
Artists, Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd, felt the "Climate Clock" would have the most impact as a public illustration demonstrating the urgency of combating climate change before the effects become irreversible displayed in a conspicuous space and presented like a statue or an artwork.
The "Climate Clock" is based on calculations by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin.
The MCC is a scientific think tank. In their report issued in 2018 they said global warming was likely to reach 1.5°C over preindustrial levels between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at the current rate. That level of warming is projected to increase damage to many ecosystems and cause an estimated $54 trillion in damage.
The website also tracks the growing percentage of the world’s energy supplied from renewable sources.
From left, the artists Andrew Boyd and Gan Golan in Union Square in Manhattan. Credit...Jeenah Moon for The New York Times
“You can’t argue with science,” Mr. Boyd said. “You just have to reckon with it. This is arguably the most important number in the world. And a monument is often how a society shows what’s important, what it elevates, what is at center stage."
The climate clock is a profound reminder for the world just how perilously close we are to the brink and one of the many initiatives encouraging everyone to join in the fight for the future of our planet.