Adding the metric of time to the Global Warming conversation
Time is something we all understand.
We all now know that if the global average temperature passes the threshold of 1.5 to 2°C above pre-industrial averages, really bad things could start to happen … and it becomes much more difficult to slow down the effects of global warming. But when will we get there? And what do we need to do to change direction? The Climate Clock acts a public line in the sand and says, this is the date. It is a measuring stick by which we can evaluate our progress.
The Climate Clock is based on the best available science, and is updated each year to reflect the latest data by a group of leading climate scientists from around the world. Each year, we are able to show how we are doing in relation to 1.5 and 2°C. Have we gained time or lost time?
Humanity has the power to add time to the Clock, but only if we work collectively and measure our progress against defined targets.
The Clock represents a radical new way to measure climate change, by using a metric we understand. This relationship between temperature and time is crucial in the story of climate change but has been largely missing from the narrative.
“We have been given a very short window of opportunity by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — that’s why the Climate Clock is so important. The clock is ticking and we need to be reminded of how little time we have left to act.” David Suzuki
We don’t measure our lives in degrees. We measure our lives in years.
The Clock is built to scale. It can be downloaded and embedded on any website as an iframe. For outdoor building projections or at conferences, the Clock can be downloaded as a simple Google Chrome app and played on any computer running the latest version of Chrome (no internet connection is required as the Clock’s date and time is validated by the internal date and time of the computer). We can easily customize the Clock to any language but presently it runs in French and English. Please contact us of you would like to project the Climate Clock and we will send you the instructions for how to do so.
Team Members and Contributors:
David Usher • Founder, Human Impact Lab.
Dr. Damon Matthews • Professor and Concordia University Research Chair (Climate Science and Sustainability) in the Department of Geography Planning and Environment, Concordia University.
Dr. Piers Forster • Professor of and Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds.
Dr. Glen Peters • Research Director, Center for International Climate Research, Oslo.
Dr. Myles Allen • Professor and Head of the Climate Dynamics group, University of Oxford.
Dr. Karsten Haustein • Researcher, Climate Systems and Policy, University of Oxford.
Dr. Leila Sujir • Associate Professor in Studio Arts, Concordia University.
Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella • Associate Professor in the Design and Computation Arts Department at Concordia University.
Gillian Nycum • Past Director of Strategic Initiatives, Human Impact Lab.
Emmanuel Sévigny • Playmind Creative Studio specialized in the conception, realization and development of digital media
Paul Simard • Former Principal Director, Faculty of Arts and Science
Jonathan Gallivan • Developer, Gallivan Media
Prem Sooriyakumar • Knowledge Broker, Concordia University.
David Oram • Advancement and Coordination Officer, Future Earth.
Jean-Patrick Toussaint • Capacity Building Advisor, Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Audrey Dépault • National Manager, Climate Reality Project Canada.
Marcus Peters • Concordia Student Union.
Programmers: Waseem Hasan and Adam Davies.
Patrick Watson • The Great Escape
David Usher • Prelude (Acoustic)
David Suzuki Foundation
Climate Reality Project Canada
• Large scale building projection at Concordia University in Montreal from December 5-7, 2018.
• Permanent installation in Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University, Montreal
• Projection at COP23 Nov 2017
• Projection in the house of Team Montreal at the 2017 Solar Decathlon in Shandong Dezhou, China
• David Suzuki Foundation Event
• Centre for Sustainable Development building installation
• Montreal Innovation Summit projection and panel
• Concordia University Earth Day installation • April 22nd 2016: here
• C2 Montreal Conference projection and panel • May 24-26 2016
• Climate Reality Project installation, Vancouver • December 5, 2016: here
• Large scale building projection at Concordia University in Montreal from March 10-19, 2017. Panel discussion around the Climate Clock held in conjunction with the projection on March 18, 2017. More info.
• World Strategic Forum, April 20, 2017, Miami FL
• Printemps Numérique, May 2, 2017 Montreal, QC
• Ontario Climate Symposium, May 11-12, 2017, Toronto ON.
• Canadian Association of Science Centres Annual Conference, May 4-6, 2017, Toronto, ON
• EECOM conference, May 18-21, 2017, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
• Innovate4Climate Summit, hosted by the World Bank, May 22-25, 2017, Barcelona, Spain
• Invited to present and project at New Cities Summit, Incheon Songdo, South Korea, June 7-9, 2017
• Projection at CMOS, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Conference, Toronto, ON, June 4-8 2017
• Projection at Formula E Montreal, July 29-30, 2017
• Projections as part of Canada C3 expedition and a Spotlight Learning Resource for Canada C3
• Projection and presentation at World Design Summit, Montreal October 16-25 2017
THE NUMBERS ON THE CLOCK:
The Climate Clock shows our best estimate of when global temperature will reach 1.5 and 2 °C above average pre-industrial temperatures, assuming global CO2 emissions continue to increase following the observed trend of the past five years.
All numbers are estimated relative to 1850-1900 as the reference temperature for the “pre-industrial” period. This is the earliest period for which we have reliable measurements of global temperature, and is the most common reference period for pre-industrial temperatures used in scientific analyses and policy discussions.
The Clock includes the following elements:
1) Tonnes of CO2 Emitted
This value shows the total accumulated CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, cement manufacture and land-use change since 1870, based on the most recent data from the Global Carbon Project.
2) Global Warming to Date
This number represents the human contribution to global temperature increases since 1861-1880. This Global Warming Index represents the portion of observed temperature change that can be attributed to all human drivers of climate change.
3) Time left to 1.5 and 2 °C
The time remaining until +1.5 and +2 °C date is estimated based on extrapolating the most recent 5-year trend of global annual fossil fuel CO2 emissions and calculating the time until we emit the remaining carbon budget – the total allowable emissions for 1.5 and 2°C. Fossil fuel emissions are currently increasing by about 0.1% (or 0.4 billion tonnes) per year and are expected to exceed 37 billion tonnes in 2018. We assume CO2 emissions from deforestation remain constant at current levels. We use best estimates of the remaining carbon budget from the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C: 770 billion tonnes after 2017 for 1.5°C and 1690 billion tonnes for 2°C. These estimates the remaining carbon budget assume a 25% warming contribution from non-CO2 greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions.
Clock update history
· Clock Launch November 2015
2°C date: December 17, 2043
· First Update April 2016
2°C date: December 16, 2044
1.5°C date: July 26, 2032
· Second Update April 2017
2°C date: May 25, 2046
1.5°C date: August 25, 2033
· Third Update November 2017
2°C date: November 14, 2045
1.5°C date: April 26, 2033
· Fourth Update December 2018