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New York City's carbon footprint

Daniel Martins, staff writer
November 18, 2012 — New video shows New York City's carbon footprint as turquoise bubbles.

The video's CO2 "spheres" would engulf the Empire State Building in just a day. Courtesy: Carbon Visuals.
The video's CO2 "spheres" would engulf the Empire State Building in just a day. Courtesy: Carbon Visuals.

As if New York City didn't have enough to worry about, imagine waking up to find the Empire State Building buried under a gigantic pile of turquoise spheres.

Luckily, this won't happen literally -- that's just an artist's rendition of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions put out by the city in just one day.

In the video above, graphics firm Carbon Visuals shows the effect of the city's carbon emissions, if each ton was represented by a sphere 10-metres across.

In only one hour, the spheres would pile up to about half the height of the Empire State Building. By the end of the day, the building would be engulfed.

After a year, the pile of CO2 bubbles would almost completely cover the island of Manhattan, and spill over to the mainland.

The video is based on carbon data from 2010, listed in a 2011 report by the New York Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

In 2010, New York City released around 54 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The city's 2011 report says New Yorkers emit about 6.5 metric tons of CO2 per person. Incidentally, the same report puts the figure for Toronto at 9.3 metric tons per person.

Almost two tons of CO2 are released into New York City every second, with buildings making up 75 per cent of emissions. 

The city says emissions in 2010 were 12 per cent less than in 2005, with the goal of a 30 per cent reduction by 2017.

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