The New York Times

November 23, 2010, 10:47 am

Art on the Scale of the Climate Challenge

With the next round of climate treaty negotiations nigh, Bill McKibben’s is holding an art show gauged to the dimensions of a planet-scale issue, with many of the works visible from space.

The nonprofit group is pushing world leaders to accept 350 parts per million as the safe target for stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That level was topped back in 1988, with the concentration projected to pass 400 parts per million around 2016 and, without enormous changes in the world’s energy menu, head far higher. As John Broder reports over at the Green blog, pledges by nations so far don’t come anywhere close to emissions trajectories that would be needed to blunt long-term warming.

sea level artDigitalGlobe This image, taken over the Dominican Republic by a DigitalGlobe satellite on November 21 from 300 miles up, shows people assembling on a beach in the image of a house being threatened by rising seas.

The installation above, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was organized by Vanessa Dalmau, an artist and campaigner who founded 350 Dominicana, a youth group focused on the ethical issues raised by an environmental problem when the source of emissions is mainly rich countries and anticipated impacts are mainly in poorer ones.

This is the “climate divide” described on Dot Earth and in the printed paper.

Here’s a list of locations for other art installations that are part of this project:

  • Maldives (Thulusdhoo)

  • About Dot Earth

    Andrew C. Revkin on Climate Change

    By 2050 or so, the world population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, which recently moved from the news side of The Times to the Opinion section, Andrew C. Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. Conceived in part with support from a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Dot Earth tracks relevant developments from suburbia to Siberia. The blog is an interactive exploration of trends and ideas with readers and experts.

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    Climate Diplomacy

    Climate Diplomacy
    Climate Diplomacy

    Andrew Revkin is covering the global climate change talks in Cancún, Mexico.

    On the Dot

    New Options Needed

    wind powerAccess to cheap energy underpins modern societies. Finding enough to fuel industrialized economies and pull developing countries out of poverty without overheating the climate is a central challenge of the 21st century.

    The Arctic in Transition

    arctic meltEnshrined in history as an untouchable frontier, the Arctic is being transformed by significant warming, a rising thirst for oil and gas, and international tussles over shipping routes and seabed resources.

    Slow Drips, Hard Knocks

    water troubles Human advancement can be aided by curbing everyday losses like the millions of avoidable deaths from indoor smoke and tainted water, and by increasing resilience in the face of predictable calamities like earthquakes and drought.

    Life, Wild and Managed

    wildlifeEarth’s veneer of millions of plant and animal species is a vital resource that will need careful tending as human populations and their demands for land, protein and fuels grow.

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    A Planet in Flux

    Andrew C. Revkin began exploring the human impact on the environment nearly 30 years ago. An early stop was Papeete, Tahiti. This narrated slide show describes his extensive travels.


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