Deutsche Bank's Asset Management division (DeAM) launched what it said is the world's first scientifically valid, real-time carbon counter a nearly 70-foot-tall digital billboard in the heart of New York City at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue.
The Carbon Counter and "Know the Number" campaign is part of a climate change awareness and education initiative sponsored by DB Climate Change Advisors group (DBCCA), DeAM's institutional climate change investment and research business.
The "Number" on the Carbon Counter is based on measurements developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that include all long-lived greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols (24 gases excluding ozone and aerosols).
"The Carbon Counter is a bold new experiment in communicating climate science to the public," said Ronald Prinn, Professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT. "With climate change in the news around the world, it is useful to have an up-to-date estimate of a single integrating number expressing the trends in the long-lived greenhouse gases contributing to that change. This number can help convey how fast these greenhouse gases are increasing, and the progress, or lack thereof, in slowing the rate of increase. The number on the Counter is based on global measurements."
The current quantity of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as shown by the Carbon Counter is 3.64 trillion metric tons, increasing by approximately 2 billion metric tons per month. According to an evolving consensus of scientists, as this trend continues there is an increasing probability that a series of macro-climatic shifts will set up a self-sustaining cycle of rapid climate change.
The Carbon Counter sign itself is carbon neutral, using low-risk carbon credits (CERs) to offset its energy use while the digital numbers are generated by low-energy light emitting diodes (LEDs).
DeAM is one of the leading climate change investors in the world, with approximately $4 billion under management as of March 2009.
In 2008 Deutsche Bank set a target to reduce its global carbon emissions by 20% annually and is committed to being carbon-neutral from 2013 onward.