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Graphics firm has a ball with New York pollution

Friday, 30 Nov, 2012 - 02:14

Nov. 30 - Animators have created a video showing the physical scale of the 54 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pumped into New York City's atmosphere in 2010. Using a technique they call 'concrete visualisation', the team hopes to spark delegates at the Doha Climate Change Conference into decisive action on global warming. Jim Drury has more.

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New York City under siege. The blue balls represent air pollution that animators from Carbon Visuals say enveloped the city in 2010. Each ball, 10 metres in radius, represents a tonne of carbon dioxide gas produced in the city that year, all piled in one place. Other sequences show the emissions build up after an hour and over one day. Carbon Visuals' creative director Adam Nieman says the technique of concrete visualisation is a useful way of explaining complex environmental data. SOUNDBITE (English) ADAM NIEMAN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF CARBON VISUALS, SAYING: "It turns them from things which are just numbers (that) don't have that sense of reality to actually feeling that they are real. In the case of carbon dioxide that's really important because it's invisible, it's something which gets discussed a lot but it does have this sense of unreality, so simply by showing how much of it there is we can, hopefully we can improve the level of debate about carbon emissions." New York's official data showed building emissions accounted for 75 percent of the city's 2010 emissions, 21 percent of it coming from office buildings alone. But Nieman says other big cities including London, home of the famous Shard skyscraper, also need to act. SOUNDBITE (English) ADAM NIEMAN, CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF CARBON VISUALS, SAYING: "If we took the emissions from all the world and they were all coming out from London as one tonne spheres like in the New York video then it would be taller than the Shard in one minute, the pile would be taller than the Shard in one minute. That's the rate at which we're emitting carbon dioxide. It's 1,062 spheres like the New York video every second." Nieman says the animation isn't meant to alarm, but to inform, pointing out New York's impressive efforts to reduce its emissions, which experts believe will have fallen 30 per cent by 2017. Their data was sourced from the New York Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Carbon Visuals plan animations of other major cities, including London, to help ensure the world's environmental decision makers don't take their eye off the ball.

Graphics firm has a ball with New York pollution

Friday, 30 Nov, 2012 - 02:14