State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Columbia Climate Center Partners With Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank Asset Management (DeAM) continues to partner with the Earth Institute in our work to understand, predict, and respond to climate variability and change. DeAM has been a leader in cutting-edge climate change activities through financial support, research collaboration and becoming a founding member of the Earth Institute’s Corporate Circle.

Most recently, DeAM released a new comprehensive analysis of global markets and policies aimed at stemming climate change. The analysis, performed by their Climate Change Advisors group with input from the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, indicates that even if all current or proposed major policies take maximum effect, they will be insufficient to avoid higher temperatures by mid-century.

Deutsche Bank researched 270 laws, treaties, targets and regulatory frameworks in 109 countries, and Columbia researchers incorporated these into a model that estimated their impacts on carbon emissions. The analysis included some major laws not yet passed, such as climate legislation pending in the U.S. Congress. The model shows that if all policies take maximum effect, worldwide carbon emissions projected for 2020 will come down from some 59,000 megatons, to 51,000. However, emissions would still have to come down almost as much again in order to reach generally agreed upon levels that scientists say would hold worldwide temperature increases down to 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

To give the public a tangible idea on just how many greenhouse gases are released and warming the atmosphere, Deutsche Bank Asset Management launched the first-ever real-time carbon counter in June 2009. Located across 33rd Street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden in New York City, the carbon counter displays the running total of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

DeAM worked with scientists at MIT, who developed the model to provide a second-by-second projection of greenhouse gas totals. The model uses data from a range of sources – including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA – to supply the counter with accurate and current information.

The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is estimated to be approximately 3.6 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, with an expected increase of 2 billion tons every month. The counter, with its 40,000 scrolling LEDs, makes this growth clear for all pedestrians in the Penn Station area (quite a few). The display itself – carbon projections aside – is a lesson in climate change awareness, as it uses low-risk carbon credits to mitigate its own energy usage.

Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024