This climate clock is counting down to doomsday - but now it ticks with with a hint of optimism

Digital display shows how much time world has to tackle climate crisis before planet passes tipping point

Samuel Osborne
Friday 28 May 2021 15:29 BST
Climate Clock unveiled in New York

A giant digital display in New York’s Union Square is counting down second by second how much time humanity has to solve the climate crisis before it slips past a point of irreversible change.

At the time of writing, it shows that the world must achieve zero emissions within six years, 219 days, one hour, six minutes and two seconds. By the time you read this, it will have ticked down further.

An online version of the clock shows the current countdown.

The clock on the side of a glass-fronted building in lower Manhattan was installed last September by climate activists and artists as part of the Climate Clock project to mark a week of climate action during the annual United Nations General Assembly.

“There’s good news. That number isn’t zero,” Gan Golan, an artist and activist who co-created the display, said when it was installed. We can meet this challenge, but we don’t have any time to lose."

In April this year, the Climate Clock began showcasing a more positive element, with a second number displaying the percentage of global energy produced from renewable sources.

“Our new LIFELINE shows the percentage of global energy generated from renwable resources,” the group said. “The current number if 12.2 per cent... but it’s not going up fast enough.”

The figure currently stands at 12.3 per cent.

The Climate Clock project also unveiled smaller travelling clocks that show both the time left to act and the percentage of renwable energy.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has urged countries to work together to reduce emissions in order to curb global warming to 1.5C.

If the global temperature rises above that level, scientists warn the planet will see even greater devastating effects, from sea-level rise to loss of coral reefs, heat waves, wildfires, droughts and typhoons.

Current emission rates suggest the world will hit 1.5C in just over seven years.

The clock installation took over the Metronome, which has featured on the side of a glass-fronted building overlooking Union Square in Manhattan for the last 20 years. It has 15 spinning LED digits which count time down to a hundreth of a second.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in