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Climate Change Accounting Goes Public in a Big Way

By Mindy S. Lubber

Jun 19, 2009

Flashy billboards are usually not my thing, but it's hard not to be grabbed by the 67-by-32-foot billboard unveiled yesterday outside New York City's Penn Station.

Deutsche Bank launched the world's first "Carbon Counter," an electronic display that digitally shows the real-time, cumulative pollution we are emitting that is causing the planet to heat up. Half a million people will see the billboard daily, and millions more can do so online at .

The Carbon Counter vividly drives home a vital point not only about climate change – 800 tons of carbon pollution is going into the atmosphere every second – but about a short-sighted economic system that is burdening our planet like never before: We haven't been honestly accounting for the environmental costs of everything we do.

When there were no controls for sooty particles belching from our power plants, we literally choked on the results. When companies did not have to pay for controls to stop raw sewage and chemicals pouring into our streams, our fish died. In those instances, we tallied the societal costs, realized they were too high, and put a stop to it.

Now we're facing a less-than-honest tally of our carbon dioxide costs, and that accounting mistake is already having enormous impacts in every corner of the U.S. and the world.

The market price of emitting this pollution has long and, quite irrationally, been zero. Those costs have not figured into what we pay to power our factories, drive our cars or heat our homes.

So guess what? We end up using a lot more energy – and polluting a lot more – than we (rationally) ought to, since we don't pay the price of polluting when we buy fuel or turn on our lights.

Bad cost accounting distorts decision-making – I can assure you, we'd all be eating more steak if the cost of cattle feed wasn't included in beef prices.

The Carbon Counter places this contradiction out in the open, where everyone can see it. It exposes in plain sight the hidden environmental cost of our energy use by tallying in plain sight the accumulating gases destabilizing our climate.

By doing so, it also exploits a key insight about human behavior that's been documented by behavioral economists: When the price of costly activities is no longer hidden from humans, we're more likely to pursue those activities prudently. That's why the simple act of placing an in plain view can substantially cut a home's energy use, or why installing real-time miles-per-gallon meters in cars changes the way we drive.

So let's ensure honest accounting of our environmental impacts, but let's not stop there.

Let's also set new standards for the business world, not just environmentally but in apportioning financial risk, because durably strong economies are built on the idea that everyone can clearly see the costs and risks of a given path, and that hasn't been happening.

After all, it was wildly overpriced compensation from Wall Street to Main Street that helped ignite our financial mess. Too many people were reaping rich payoffs up front while offloading all the risks from mortgages and securities they were selling onto society. Heads I win, tails you lose: What incentive was there to NOT be reckless?

That's why the new Carbon Counter's not just a gimmick.

The Duetche bank is one of

The Duetche bank is one of the founding banks for the Federal Reserve, you know, the system of printing fiat money and charging interest on it that can never be paid back.

Hence the desire for them to create similar other business ventures, charging for co2 emissions which is what plants and trees like to breathe. Other planets in our solar system are also heating up, can that be from mans co2 use?

Nope. It’s all a natural cycle of the suns sun spots

that and the Duetche bank looking for ways to enslave us all, when the reality is, the constitution makes “the Fed” illegal, still it continues to charge interest and mount debt

tick tock, don’t look at that clock

as with all magic you are supposed to follow

Fossil fuels are hitting peak, the USA which burns one out of every 4 barrels of oil, hit peak oil in the 70’s. Canada hit peak oil in 1985 if it wasn’t for oilsands, all of North America would be a net importer especially with Mexico major well facing massive year over year declines.

So how can you worry about CO2 which is air for plants, when reserves are being depleted anyways?

This Carbon tax is a sham, but it’s nice to see the Dueche bank after it’s own desires, taxing and charging us for what should be free.

In the end, lack of oil will cause CO2 to lower, along with higher oil prices, but the banks who are interested in keeping your dollars will be out to tax what the sun is in fact doing to other planets!

Watch the BBC documentary, on how CO2 does not effect global warming!

Reply to No Correlation

Judy, Judy, Judy. You needn't flaunt your ignorance. Do you honestly believe that you've stumbled upon something that every leading scientific body missed? Or is it perhaps possible that you're misinformed or, more likely, you're scouring FOX News' website for any tidbit you can find that would support your favorite conclusion? Go sit in the corner, honey, and let the adults sit down and fix this.

Studies also show that, just like polar ice, the blocks of blockheads that cling to misinformation like dogs with bones are melting away to isolated islands. Not a moment too soon.

No Correlation

It is amazing to me that the fact that although there is no longer any correlation between temperature and increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, the band plays on.

As can be clearly seen, temperatures have been dropping since 2002 even though CO2 continues upward.
A simple rule...no correlation = no causation.
Added to that, is the other fact that all of human activity only accounts for 3% of the total amount in the atmosphere. Hello?
Is anybody home?

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