Environmental Protection

Deutsche Bank Launches Real-Time Carbon Counter

Deutsche Bank's Asset Management division (DeAM) on June 18 launched the world's first scientifically valid, real-time carbon counter, a nearly 70-foot-tall digital billboard displaying the running total of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The counter began operating in the heart of New York City at 33rd St. and 7th Ave., outside Madison Square Garden and Penn Station.

The Carbon Counter and "Know the Number" campaign is part of a groundbreaking climate-change awareness and education initiative sponsored by DB Climate Change Advisors group (DBCCA), DeAM's institutional climate change investment and research business. The belief that information catalyzes action underpins the Carbon Counter's creation. 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).

"Carbon in the atmosphere has reached an 800,000-year high," said Kevin Parker, global head of DeAM and a member of Deutsche Bank's Group Executive Committee. "We can't see greenhouse gases, so it is easy to forget that they are accumulating rapidly. 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."

"The Carbon Counter is a bold new experiment in communicating climate science to the public," said Ronald Prinn, professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT. "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. It shows the total estimated tonnage of these gases expressed as their equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide, with seasonal and other natural cyclical variations removed to more clearly reveal the underlying long term trends driven by human and other activity. It is indeed a number to watch."

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.

Using work from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report as a starting point, DBCCA collaborated with scientists at MIT to track greenhouse gases in the most timely and up-to-date manner possible. This process relies on regular measurement of long-lived greenhouse gas concentration data from equipment operated in dozens of locations around the world by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA's Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment, run by Prinn. The carbon counter's real-time display is a running projection of the current quantities based on the latest measurements available. The projection is recalibrated every month as new data are received.

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). A Venus 7000 display controller is being used to communicate the greenhouse gas concentration data to the digital display which is imbedded in the billboard, which contains 40,960 LEDs.

The Carbon Counter Number is available 24 hours a day at http://www.know-the-number.com and updates will be available at http://twitter.com/knowthenumber.

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