By now, humanity should know that the clock is ticking on climate change. Without a literal clock ticking away in our faces, however, we seem to conveniently forget. That’s why artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd installed a climate clock in Manhattan’s Union Square, 10 stories high for everyone to see.
On September 17, the clock began counting down from seven years, 103 days, 15 hours, 40 minutes, and seven seconds. When the clock runs out, the average global temperature will be 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above industrial levels, if greenhouse gas emissions remain the same, and we face irreversible climate disaster.
The clock also displays a percentage in green, which shows the fraction of energy produced with renewable sources. The artists call this number the “lifeline.”
“We need to get our lifeline to 100% before our deadline reaches 0,” Golan and Boyd wrote on their website. According to Boyd, the clock is an effort to get people to wake up and take action today, and remind them that they can’t wait another seven years.
Despite its ominous appearance, Golan told the Washington Post, “This is not a doomsday clock; the number is not zero. It’s telling us there is still time, but we can’t waste it. The world is literally counting on us,” adding that “every hour, every minute, every second, counts.”
The clock will not, however, remain on display for the next seven years. It’ll only be there for a few more days, until September 27 and the end of New York City’s Climate Week.