UNION SQUARE, Manhattan — It is a countdown we cannot take lightly. Time is running out to reduce our carbon emissions to prevent an irreversible climate catastrophe.
That is the message to New Yorkers and the world during Climate Week NYC.
A Climate Clock was installed in Union Square, ticking downward, second by second.
“The Climate Clock is showing the critical time window to take action to prevent the effects of climate change from becoming irreversible,” co-creator Gan Golan said.
As Climate Week NYC and the United Nations General Assembly get underway, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced events to move online.
But the Climate Clock is a tangible reminder that time is running out to reduce carbon emissions.
“And so what you see on the clock right now is about seven years, 101 days left in the critical time window,” Golan said.
Last year at this time, United Nations traffic clogged the streets and New York City’s youth participated in a massive climate march. Young activist Greta Thunberg arrived on sailboat.
“Greta Thunberg actually has the very first climate clock that we built for her custom at her request,” Golan said.
But this year, the Climate Clock is only one of just a few things people will see indicating that it’s Climate Week, with the pandemic dampening most large and live events.
Gerren Liles was eating his lunch in Union Square Monday. When he looked up at the clock, he said, “Yeah, we are running out of time.”
More than 20 year ago, the clock was created as a public art installation, showing current time in a 24-hour format.
The owner of the building, The Related Companies, agreed to change it over to the Climate Clock for Climate Week NYC. The company said it’s now deciding on the future of the clock.
“The Climate Clock will remind the world every day just how perilously close we are to the brink — and that it’s not too late to do something about it. Climate change is reversible. This initiative will encourage everybody to join us in fighting for the future of our planet,” Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross said.
Golan, the co-creator of the Climate Clock, said, “There is actually a lot of hope in this clock. We say this clock is not just a deadline, it’s a lifeline.”
The hope is that people, governments and the world will step up and make the changes that are needed.