Carbon Clock


The Carbon Clock of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) shows how much CO2 can be released into the atmosphere to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and 2°C, respectively.

In 2015, with the Paris Climate Agreement, all nations around the world set themselves the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C (preferably 1.5°C) compared to pre-industrial levels. An ambitious goal. The Special Report of October 2018 presents new figures: The atmosphere can absorb no more than 420 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 if we are to stay below the 1.5°C threshold. However, since around 42 Gt of CO2 is emitted globally every year, this budget is expected to be used up in <9 years. The budget for staying below the 2°C threshold, for its part, of approximately 1170 Gt, will be exhausted in <26 years.

The clock keeps ticking and shows how little time is left for political decision-makers to  take action. Navigating the MCC website gives an interactive understanding of the time frame of action required for a given political goal.