There’s a new countdown clock in town, and it has an urgent message
The “Metronome” clock in Union Square has taken on a new timeframe, morphing to show the years, hours, minutes and seconds remaining to stave off irreversible effects of global warming.
Titled “Climate Clock,” the electronic installation was revealed by artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd on Saturday and is scheduled to remain on display in Union Square through Sept. 27 as part of Climate Week.
“Climate Change is already here. This clock is not an alarm clock saying, in seven years it will ring and we need to wake up,” Golan, the project’s originator, explained in a statement. “It’s more like a stopwatch already running that we have to keep pace with. We need to take action today, tomorrow and the day after that. Let’s get moving. Every second counts. We need to act in time.”
The “deadline,” as the project calls it, is based on a carbon clock created by Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and coincides with the time left until we use up our allotted carbon budget needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The data used to determine the MCC’s timeline stems from a 2018 report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which places arrival at the 1.5°C mark between 2030 and 2052 without action.
The clock factors into a larger project, which also includes a website outlining the effects of certain actions (like the Green New Deal), the science behind the numbers and ways for individuals to create their own handheld clock (like the one the artists made for environmental activist Greta Thurnberg). Displayed alongside the “Climate Clock” countdown in red on the homepage is a ticker in green that tracks the rising percentage of the energy supplied from renewable sources across the world. The goal, the project notes, is to raise the green percentage to 100 before the red deadline hits zero.
The website describes the “Climate Clock” as an open-source project and encourages individuals, schools and cities to install their own versions locally.
“The clock is a way to speak science to power,” Boyd said in a statement. “The clock is telling us we must reduce our emissions as much as we can as fast as we can. The technology is there. We can do this — and in the process, create a healthier, more just world for all of us. Our planet has a deadline. But we can turn it into a lifeline.”
Top Image: "Climate Clock." Photo: Ben Wolf.