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Like Cigarettes for the Planet

Written By: Dave Rochlin | 7 comments | Join the Discussion
Global giant Deutsche Bank maintains a real-time 70-foot-tall carbon counter in New York City (right outside Madison Square garden at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue), which displays a running total of long-lived greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. You can see the online version here.

This sort of advertising is something that humble NGOs only dream of, and has the real potential to raise awareness and reinforce the need to act.

Kevin Parker, who heads up Deutsche's Asset Management group says that:

"Behavioral economists will tell you that the simple act of placing an electricity consumption meter in plain view can substantially cut a home's energy use. The same goes for real-time miles-per-gallon meters in cars, which change the way we drive. These findings tell us something about behavior: When the price of costly activities isn't hidden from us, we're more likely to pursue those activities prudently."

But how quickly does change occur? The sudden rush to raise awareness reminds me of the very public campaign against cigarettes, which started picking up speed 40 years ago when the "scientists don't agree" arguments crumbled and the surgeon general started issuing warnings about tobacco use. The good news on the cigarette front is that there are only 1/2 as many smokers in the US as there were in the 60's. The bad news is that it took 40 years to get here. The worse news is that smoking rates have continued to rise in developing parts of the world, rising by 3.4% per year, according to the WHO. The American Cancer Society projects a drastic increase in cigarette use, based on population and smoking trends in the developing world.

China is now the biggest producer and consumer of cigarettes. Of course, the same is true of CO2. Are we doomed to repeat the cigarette cycle with greenhouse gasses? A gradual adjustment in our domestic "carbon consumption", combined with growth in other parts of the world will be disastrous, leaving the planet with the equivalent of a two-pack-a-day carbon habit.

Faster change at home, and similar action abroad is needed. Any ideas for getting there?

Discuss This

  1. posted on 03.07.11

    Generally I do not post on articles, but I would like to say that this blog really forced me to do so! Thanks, really nice blog.

  2. Aneka Kita posted on 07.19.10

    This is a good site!!Thanks for this post..

  3. posted on 04.02.10

    yea its really very harmful for all...

  4. posted on 03.03.10

    This is one of the best post I have ever read, I would love to read more in future. Keep up the good work.

  5. tiensshop posted on 01.21.10

    Thanks for this post, I am a member of an NGO which works for the development and prevention of the destruction of the environment and this information i think is a good tip for us.

  6. Dave Rochlin posted on 12.23.09

    Responding to the post below: There is substantial evidence that greenhouse gasses cause climate change - check out the science page at http://www.climatepath.org/aboutus/science. The issue is pretty much settled Offset programs play a key part in preserving forests, funding sustainable development and driving renewable energy investment. We should reduce where we can, but we can do a lot more.

  7. MidwestGreen posted on 12.23.09

    I think a carbon counter is great. Cap and Trade is just a scheme to bilk individuals out of a lot of money. I have yet to see a good model that actually shows a direct relationship to global warming from carbon. I hope China cleans up their air pollution. I was there shortly before the olympics and my eyes just stung from the pollution.

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Discuss This

  1. posted on 03.07.11

    Generally I do not post on articles, but I would like to say that this blog really forced me to do so! Thanks, really nice blog.

  2. Aneka Kita posted on 07.19.10

    This is a good site!!Thanks for this post..

  3. posted on 04.02.10

    yea its really very harmful for all...

  4. posted on 03.03.10

    This is one of the best post I have ever read, I would love to read more in future. Keep up the good work.

  5. tiensshop posted on 01.21.10

    Thanks for this post, I am a member of an NGO which works for the development and prevention of the destruction of the environment and this information i think is a good tip for us.

  6. Dave Rochlin posted on 12.23.09

    Responding to the post below: There is substantial evidence that greenhouse gasses cause climate change - check out the science page at http://www.climatepath.org/aboutus/science. The issue is pretty much settled Offset programs play a key part in preserving forests, funding sustainable development and driving renewable energy investment. We should reduce where we can, but we can do a lot more.

  7. MidwestGreen posted on 12.23.09

    I think a carbon counter is great. Cap and Trade is just a scheme to bilk individuals out of a lot of money. I have yet to see a good model that actually shows a direct relationship to global warming from carbon. I hope China cleans up their air pollution. I was there shortly before the olympics and my eyes just stung from the pollution.

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