A single hour of New York City's carbon dioxide emissions, as one-tonne spheres.
Movie still from: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtqSIplGXOA
A single hour of New York City's carbon dioxide emissions as one-tonne spheres.
In 2010 (the latest year for which we had data) New York City added 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent) to the atmosphere, but that number means little to most people because few of us have a sense of scale for atmospheric pollution. Carbon Visuals and the Environmental Defense Fund wanted to make those emissions feel a bit more real - the total emissions and the rate of emission. Designed to engage the 'person on the street', this version is exploratory and still work in progress.
54,349,650 million tons a year = 148,903 tons a day = 6,204 tons an hour = 1.72 tons a second
At standard pressure and 59 °F a metric ton of carbon dioxide gas would fill a sphere 33 feet across (density of CO₂ = 1.87 kg/m³). If this is how New York's emissions actually emerged we would see one of these spheres emerge every 0.58 seconds.
Emissions in 2010 were 12% less than 2005 emissions. The City of New York is on track to reduce emissions by 30% by 2017 - an ambitious target.