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Carbon Counter Debuts in N.Y.C.

A new attraction debuted outside Madison Square Garden yesterday: a 20-meter-tall billboard that flashes the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The current number is 3.6 trillion metric tons, and is rising by about 2 billion a month.

The sign is run by Deutsche Bank, which manages $4 billion in investments related to climate change. Coming up with a big red number wasn’t a simple task (one wonders about all those decimal places), so the bank teamed up with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere.

Mike Lemonick at Newsweek has a nice discussion of the process and complexities. He ends with a cautious note:

Deutsche Bank and the MIT folks hope that seeing these huge numbers scroll by on a giant billboard will make people more aware of what we're doing to the planet, just as billboards with the U.S. national debt try to raise awareness about another scary number.

Given how much people pay attention to the debt, though, let's hope this one is more effective.