Climate Emergency Day, plus, the Climate Clock, and President Biden almost declares a climate emergency!
Climate Emergency Day, Climate Clock, President Biden Almost Declares a Climate Emergency!
CLIMATE EMERGENCY DAY
Climate Scientist James Dyke once wrote, “Sometimes we only notice a sound when it stops. It’s based on that concept that last Friday, July 22nd, at 5pm, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe held a moment of silence on the first annual Climate Emergency Day. Last Friday, July 22nd, 2022 was decreed to be “Climate Emergency Day” because it was the first moment when humanity has officially less than seven years until what many scientists consider the window closes upon keeping global warming below 1.5C, if we don’t take drastic action.
As of now, the clock counts down towards July 2029. It is located on the side of a glass-fronted building in lower Manhattan in New York and was installed in September 2020 by climate activists and artists. I have to admit, I didn’t know about the Climate Clock nor Climate Emergency Day until today. And frankly reporting on Climate Emergency Day doesn’t quite fall into our normal lane of solutions-oriented journalism.
Or is it?
The day was observed in different cities including New York City, New Orleans, and Harrisburg in the US, Rome in Italy, United Kingdoms’ London, Rwanda’s Kigali, Abuja in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana, and Johannesburg in South Africa. At Kigali Independent University (ULK) in Rwanda, the event brought together faculty members, students and other external stakeholders like Climate Clock Africa, Fridays for Future, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), and others.
One of its participants, ULK Madiha Mahamat Alhadi, said, “Whether it is through conducting awareness, bringing climate change into our usual discussions, or simply stopping wasting resources like electricity, water and disposing of our wastes properly, I’m sure it would go a long way.” So why does a moment of silence on Climate Emergency Day matter to us? the moment of silence allowed people to take stock of what’s at stake, and then make a clear commitment to what they will do in the next year to meet our climate deadline.
And by the way, don’t have to wait until next July 22 to observe a moment of silence on behalf of the climate.
HISTORY OF THE CLIMATE CLOCK
Back in 2009, Deutsche Bank briefly erected a Carbon Counter billboard 70 feet above New York’s Times Square, tracking humanity’s alarming rate of carbon emissions (2 billion tons per month at the time). In 2015, musician-activist David Usher and scientist Damon Matthews began hosting an online climate clock at Concordia University’s Human Impact Lab, that in addition to carbon, tracked temperature and time. Another webpage clock, the Bloomberg Carbon Clock, has also been running since 2015.
In 2018, The 2° Window, an art-concept-project by Andy McWilliams and Amay Kataria went live online, and was installed in a few galleries the following year. In 2019, the Berlin Carbon Clock, a large, real-world LED-sculpture was installed by Fridays for Future and EUREF on the famous Gasometer in Berlin. Finally, inspired by these earlier, graphical iterations of climate change warnings, the Climate Clock was unveiled on September 19, 2020 In Manhattan’s Union Square.
According to climateclock.world, the device is the brainchild of climate activists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd, art-fixer Katie Peyton Hofstadter, tech maestro Adrian Carpenter, and a clutch supporting team including leading scientists, the Mayor’s office, and a host of creatives. There are now a number of climate clocks around the world, including Berlin, Seoul, South Korea, Rome, Accra, Ghana and Glasgow. They’re all synced up, too. If you want one in your city, town or village, well you can. Surf on over to climateclock.world/clocks, or click on the link in the Deeper Dive section at the end of this story at theclimate.org/episodes to find out how.
So why does the climate clock matter to us? Because it’s about creating a movement. The clock is a vivid tool to help turn up the volume and amplify the message of our limited time window, and it helps make the wider public better understand the urgency of this moment.
PRESIDENT BIDEN ALMOST DECLARES A CLIMATE EMERGENCY
Last week, President Joe Biden called climate change an “emergency” but stopped short of making it official with a climate emergency declaration. “As president, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger. That’s what climate change is about. It is literally – not figuratively – a clear and present danger.”
Biden last week promised “strong executive action” after climate legislation talks fell apart in the Senate. According to a White House press release, the U.S. president announced his latest set of executive actions to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, by creating good-paying jobs in clean energy and lowering costs for families. His actions will protect communities from climate impacts already here, including extreme heat conditions impacting more than 100 million Americans this week, and expand offshore wind opportunities and jobs in the United States.
This included announcing $2.3 billion in funding for BRIC (Building Resilient infrastructure and Communities) to “help communities across the country build infrastructure that’s designed to withstand the full range of disasters we’ve been seeing up to today.” He also said his administration is considering offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico, which he called a “real opportunity to power millions of additional homes from wind.”
According to a fact sheet from the White House, the proposed areas cover 700,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico and have the potential to power over 3 million homes. These actions follow the President’s announcement last month of a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership, joining with Governors to ensure that federal and state officials are working together to build a U.S.-based supply chain, including manufacturing and shipbuilding, for the rapidly-growing offshore wind industry.
Why does this announcement matter to us? Well, he is America’s president, and so we’d like to believe his words carry weight. And that weight will translate into action. So keep hope alive.