June 23, 2009

Counting Carbon at Madison Square Garden

Can we fathom big numbers?

Deutsche Bank just unveiled a giant 70-foot tall billboard in New York City to increase public awareness about rising greenhouse gas emissions.

This mammoth Carbon Counter was launched by its Asset Management division and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to convey a sense of urgency, by providing the world’s first scientifically valid, real-time emissions display of greenhouse gases.

When the counter was turned on (6-18-09), it showed 3.64 trillion tons. But every second we put 800 metric tons more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as we consume energy. Click the link above to see what it's at now.

FYI: In order to keep temperatures from rising more than 2.4 degrees Celsius to avoid more extreme climate change impacts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned we must stabilize carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations somewhere between 350 parts per million (ppm) to 400 ppm. When the counter was turned on Thursday, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations were already estimated at 385 ppm.

Time will tell if this counter inspires us to change our habits and reduce our carbon footprints.

Just how big is one ton of CO2? Dave Ames, a science teacher at Cohasset High School in Cohasset, Massachusetts built a large cube that represents the size of 1 ton of carbon dioxide.
A picture is indeed worth a thousand words.