Deutsche Bank Launches Real-Time Carbon Counter

Deutsche Bank Launches Real-Time Carbon Counter

Katherine Bagley
Published: 06/19/2009
Photo Credit: Katherine Bagley, Audubon Magazine

Huddled under umbrellas outside of Madison Square Garden in torrential downpour conditions yesterday morning, members of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division officially launched the world’s first real-time carbon counter in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Addressing members of the press, the bank announced that they hope the 70-foot digital billboard will serve as a 24-hour reminder of the global greenhouse gas emissions being emitted into the atmosphere on a daily basis.

“We can’t see greenhouse gases, so it is easy to forget that they are accumulating rapidly,” said Kevin Parker, Global Head of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management and the driving force behind the carbon-counter, in a news release. “It will be a huge task to bring global emissions under control and my hope is that putting this data in the public view will spur both governments and markets to move us more quickly to a low-carbon economy.”

Climate change experts discussed policy, technology, and science during a post-launch panel. Photo Credit: Katherine Bagley, Audubon Magazine

The real-time ticker, which was developed from measurements by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), currently reads that approximately 3.64 trillion metric tons of long-lived greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere. This number is expected to increase by 2 billion metric tons every month.

According to Deutsche Bank, the counter itself is carbon neutral. The billboard uses low-risk carbon credits (CERs) to offset its energy use while 40,960 LED bulbs illuminate the digital ticker. The counter can also be viewed online at www.know-the-number.com.

Following the carbon counter launch, Deutsche Bank held a panel discussion with an impressive line-up of climate change experts, including: John Reilly (MIT), Robert Socolow (Princeton), Tim Wirth (UN Foundation), Fred Krupp (Environmental Defense Fund), Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University’s Earth Institute), and Parker.

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, addressed 300 people during the post-launch panel. Photo Credit: Katherine Bagley, Audubon Magazine

The participants focused their conversation around the importance of approving US climate and carbon legislation before UN climate talks in Copenhagen this December; the role financial institutions will need to play for a carbon cap-and-trade program to be successful; and the need to support innovative technologies and green jobs.

As the rain continued to pound against the event hall’s windows, Sachs commented that he couldn’t think of more appropriate weather in which to launch the carbon counter. “This kind of event is precisely what is ahead for the Northeast,” he said before reading aloud from page 109 of the newly released Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report. “It says, ‘Severe flooding due to sea-level rise and heavy downpours is likely to occur more frequently’…Maybe in 10 years we will be flooded out of this banquet.”