Clock Installed In Design Museum Counts Down To 'Critical' Climate Threshold

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 27 months ago

Last Updated 04 March 2022

Clock Installed In Design Museum Counts Down To 'Critical' Climate Threshold
London’s first Climate Clock in the Design Museum © Harry East

London's first Climate Clock has been unveiled at the Design Museum, counting down the time remaining for humans to prevent global warming rising above 1.5°C.

The digital display board, which is located on the museum's second floor, counts down in years and days (seven years, 144 days at time of writing) until the predicted time when the planet will surpass global warming of 1.5°C.

It's calculated using a 'carbon budget', based on the amount of carbon being emitted globally and how much carbon we can afford to add to the atmosphere before we breach that temperature. Why 1.5°C? That's widely considered by scientists to be the critical threshold after which the effects of climate change would be widespread, devastating and irreversible.

© Harry East

Other information displayed on the climate clock refers to the three 'lifelines' to climate change; the amount of land currently protected by Indigenous peoples, the percentage of the world's energy that comes from renewable sources, and the amount of money dedicated to the Green Climate Fund.

Climate Clock is an international project, designed as a symbol of urgency to raise awareness of the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, and the need to act.

This Climate Clock is the first semi-permanent one to be installed in the UK. One was displayed temporarily at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, and others have appeared in Berlin, New York, Seoul and Rome, as well as almost being shown by young climate activist Greta Thunberg in a speech to the UN (security wouldn't allow the clock into the conference). The countdown can also be seen live on the Climate Clock website.

© Harry East

The installation of a Climate Clock at the Design Museum coincides with the release of the latest IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, released on 28 February at 11am GMT. Its previous report, published in August 2021, was described by the UN as 'code red for humanity'.

Andrew Boyd, co-creator of Climate Clock said:

We're pleased to launch the first-ever Climate Clock in London at the Design Museum. We hope that this timeline will act as a motivator for the environmentally conscious and as an educator for those keen to learn more.