The latest ominous number to appear on the side of a New York building is a real-time count of the tons of carbon dioxide (and equivalents of other greenhouse gases) emitted each day, based on MIT calculations.
The 70-foot-tall display, unveiled last week by Deutsche Bank outside New York's Madison Square Garden, is modeled after the familiar Times Square Debt Clock, which keeps a running tally of the U.S. national debt.
The new display's rapidly rising red digits are based on data collected and analyzed by MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, using a global network of monitoring stations. The Deutsche Bank display not only shows the level of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere but also underscores how businesses and financial institutions are starting to grow concerned about the economic impacts of climate change.
The full MIT report documenting how the calculations are derived is available at: http://globalchange.mit.edu. An online version of the counter can be seen here: http://www.dbcca.com/dbcca/EN.