7 years and 102 days.
That’s the the time we have left before we run through our carbon budget – the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted while still having a 67% chance of keeping the world under 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming – at the world’s current rate of emissions.
Why is holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius such a big deal? And how can we help?
The Climate Clock
The Climate Clock, a digital clock that counts down the time we have left until we use all of the earth’s carbon budget, is now displayed in the side of a building in Union Square in New York City.
The clock is meant to be an effort to pressure governments worldwide to take a stand and encourage action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rein in human-caused global heating. “The clock is telling us that 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”, project co-founder Andrew Boyd said in a statement.
The Climate Clock is a daily reminder that climate change is here and we need to do something about it. “This is not a statue just sitting there in our public environment. This is a dynamic message, and one that we hope people respond to so it becomes a catalyst for action. We’re hoping that the clock serves as a tool for climate organizations and advocates and activists to be able to reference to hold governments and hold corporations accountable. Because we can all point to this clock and say: This is how much time we have left. We all need to be doing more,” says Gan Golan, a designer and artist who collaborated on the project.
“But why is holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius such a big deal” you ask? Stay tuned.
Why Global Temperature Matters, According to NASA
According to NASA, more than one-fifth of all humans live in regions that have already seen temperatures warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one season. NASA has found that climate-related risks were found to be generally higher at lower latitudes and especially problematic for disadvantaged people and communities.
The Impact for Humans:
At 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, the report projects that climate-related risks to human health, livelihoods, food security, human security, water supply, and economic growth will all increase. Disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous tribes, and communities with livelihoods based on agriculture or coastal resources will be at the highest risk. Some populations will see increased poverty. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could reduce the number of people susceptible to climate-related poverty risks by as much as several hundred million by 2050.
- Heat-Related Illness and Mortality: Impacts will vary by region due to many factors such as the ability of populations to adjust to changes in their environment, vulnerability of populations, their human-made surroundings, and access to air conditioning. The elderly, children, women, those with chronic diseases, and people taking certain medications will be at highest risk.
- Vector-Borne Diseases: More people will die from vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
- Food Security: Yields for crops such as maize, rice, wheat, and other cereal crops will be reduced. Rice and wheat will become less nutritious. Projected food availability will be diminished.
- Economic Impacts: The United States could lose 2.3 percent of its GDP for each degree Celsius increase in global warming. To put that into perspective, that would amount to more than $446 billion.
- Land: Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will mean 40,000 less people will see their land inundated by 2150.
How to Get Involved With the #ClimateClock Project
Make your own climate clock and help raise awareness about the importance of taking care of our planet. You can join the movement and set clocks at your school, university, work, your house, or any other public spaces. Let’s hold each other accountable!
Businesses and other organizations can no longer afford to pursue profits over and above the common good. It’s businesses’ greed and selfishness that has left the entire world population vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. We have to start taking care of one another and take values-based decisions by putting people, communities, and our planet at the heart of everything we do.
Mankind depends on each and every one of us taking action to protect the one thing we all have in common: Earth.
Let’s unite our strengths to tackle this issue together. Let’s become agents of change.
Don’t just do it for the planet, do it for each other.