It feels eerily pre-apocalyptic in Manhattan’s Union Square this week. A digital clock towers over the busy area as our impending doom nears closer with every second. Uncomfortable? Definitely. Will it force people to change their ways? Here’s hoping.
Unveiled by artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd, the work aptly dubbed ‘Climate Clock’ has warned that from 1:30pm on Monday, there is 7 years, 101 days, 17 hours, 29 minutes and 22 seconds until the Earth’s carbon budget is depleted, based on current emission rates. The result would see further natural disasters at more devastating proportions such as floods, fire, worsening famine and further human displacement, according to the artists. This will also occur further, if the Earth’s temperature rises by 1.5 degrees.
Signed in 2016, the Paris Agreement incorporating more than 180 countries hopes to work together to keep the Earth’s temperature below two degrees, 1.5 degrees if possible.
The clock displays two figures, the countdown in red, and a green display which depicts a “lifeline”, and tracks the percentage of available energy being supplied from renewable sources. “Simply put, we need to get our lifeline to 100% before our deadline reaches 0,” says the clock’s official website.
The instalment replaces the astronomical clock which was first erected at Metronome in 1999. The Climate Clock will only be on display until September 27, although it is hoped it will one day become permanent.
In the meantime, it is a stark reminder that we don’t have decades until our demise – we can’t pass this on to further generations – we have a matter of years, and counting.