Clock on Letná counting down to climate catastrophe

Experts say people have less than seven years to take action before the effects are irreversible.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 30.11.2022 10:55:00 (updated on 30.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A clock in Prague’s Letná park has started counting down to time left to avert irreversible climate change. The eight-meter-high and 35-meter-wide clock stands next to the Metronome on the base where a giant statue of Stalin once stood.

The clock, which will be in operation until Dec. 12, was erected by Festival svobody (Freedom Festival), which also organizes the annual memorial celebrations for the Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy on Nov. 17.

“Festival svobody annually commemorates the legacy of the Velvet Revolution. But it is necessary to take care of it continuously, not only on Nov.17. Therefore, following the recent 33rd anniversary, we decided to install a Climate Clock next to the pendulum,” Freedom Festival spokesman Marek Cieslar said in a press release.

“We want to remind citizens, including politicians, in a non-violent, but still very strong way, that climate change is an acute threat to the future of the Czech Republic, in which freedom, peace, and democracy reign,” Cieslar said.

If global greenhouse gas production is not significantly reduced, the world is less than seven years away from irreversible climate change, the organizers of the event said, citing the latest scientific calculations.

Six years and 235 days left

The clock shows how much time is left until the planet warms by 1.5 degrees Celsius, which climate experts say is a point of no return. A luminous dial on the left shows the remaining years and days, and one on the right shows the hours, minutes, and seconds.

The clock came on at exactly 6 p.m. last night. First, the lights flashed, then the words "epilogue of the earth" appeared followed by "time is rushing." The countdown then began at six years, 235 days, and 53 minutes.

“The studio Multiverse is behind the shape of the Prague climate clock. They were able to create a visually strong installation with the lowest possible ecological burden. The climate clock on Letná has a similar consumption of electricity as a home stove,” Cieslar said.

The time comes from the international group Climate Clock, which has been involved in similar clocks in New York, Seoul, Glasgow, Rome, and Berlin. They also provide a clock that can be embedded in any website and other information.

According to its website, the Climate Clock, which is based on science, "is a timeline that no government is yet willing to commit to." Still, "we must do what science and justice demand, not what elected officials or CEOs might deem convenient.”

“We mustn’t pretend we have more time than we do,” Climate Clock said.

Both Prague City Hall and the Prague 7 district agreed to the installation. The project is being created under the auspices of outgoing City Councilor Hana Třeštíková, responsible for culture and sports.

Three steps in three years

According to Festival svobody, the climate crisis is one of the most significant threats to freedom, peace, and democracy in the Czech Republic. In a petition called three steps in three years, the group called on the politicians to address the climate issue together with education reform and help for Ukraine.

Cieslar said that if 10,000 people sign the petition, it will then feature on the agenda of members of the petition committee of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament.

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