Earth is getting its own ‘Black Box’ that will track climate change and other man-made perils – and potentially document civilisation’s downfall.
Built ‘to outlive us all’, the 32-foot-long indestructible steel monolith, based in Tasmania, Australia, will be filled with hard drives documenting an ‘unbiased account of the events that lead to the demise of the planet’.
It will capture scientific data on temperature, sea levels, atmospheric CO2 and many more metrics to provide a document of how humanity failed to avoid a climate disaster.
Researchers see it as akin to a black box in aviation, which records the performance and condition of an aircraft to provide vital information in case of accidents.
However, they’re still working out how humans would be able to access its data following a catastrophic climate apocalypse – or if anyone would be alive to do so.
It’s possible that a small group of humanity’s survivors could learn more about the fall of civilisation due to catastrophic fires, flooding and drought.
It’s currently unclear how much the solar-powered box will cost, but construction will begin in mid-2022.
Artistic renderings suggest it will have a similar vibe to the black monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s epic 1968 film, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
Earth’s Black Box will be built in ‘an extremely geologically stable location in Tasmania’. Construction will be completed in 2022
Earth’s Black Box has a similar vibe to the black monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 epic, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (pictured here)
EARTH’S BLACK BOX
Earth’s Black Box is a 32-foot-long steel monolith filled with hard drives that will download data from the internet.
According to the ABC, it will be collecting two types of data:
1. Measurements of land and sea temperatures, ocean acidification, atmospheric CO2, species extinction, land-use changes, as well as human population, military spending and energy consumption.
2. Contextual data such as newspaper headlines, social media posts, and news from key events like Conference of the Parties (COP) climate change meetings.
Earth’s Black Box is a project led by marketing firm Clemenger BBDO and the University of Tasmania.
They will construct the Black Box staring mid 2022.
The project has been led by marketing firm Clemenger BBDO in collaboration with the University of Tasmania. MailOnline has contacted Clemenger BBDO about how much the project is costing.
‘The idea is if the Earth does crash as a result of climate change, this indestructible recording device will be there for whoever’s left to learn from that,’ Jim Curtis from Clemenger BBDO told the ABC.
‘It’s also there to hold leaders to account – to make sure their action or inaction is recorded.’
The exact location of the box is unspecified, but it will reportedly be situated about four hours from the city of Hobart, somewhere near the western coast, between Strahan and Queenstown.
The location in Tasmania was reportedly chosen for its ‘geopolitical and geological stability’ ahead of other candidates like Malta, Norway and Qatar.
When the sun is out in Tasmania, solar energy will power the download of scientific data, including sea levels and temperatures, ocean acidification, atmospheric CO2, species extinction and land-use changes in the world’s various locations.
Meanwhile, an algorithm will take climate-change-related material from the internet, such as newspaper headlines and social media posts.
According to the project’s website, the purpose of the device ‘is to provide an unbiased account of the events that lead to the demise of the planet, hold accountability for future generations and inspire urgent action’.
Earth’s Black Box is a project led by marketing firm Clemenger BBDO and the University of Tasmania. It’s pictured here in an artist’s impression
The exact location of the box is unspecified, but it will reportedly be situated about four hours from the city of Hobart, somewhere near the western coast, between Strahan and Queenstown
‘Unless we dramatically transform our way of life, climate change and other man-made perils will cause our civilization to crash,’ it says. ‘Earth’s Black Box will record every step we take towards this catastrophe.
‘Hundreds of data sets, measurements and interactions relating to the health of our planet will be continuously collected and safely stored for future generations.’
Developers estimate it will have enough capacity to store data for the next 30 to 50 years, which is a key period for our quest to contain climate change.
Once active, the Black Box will also be recording ‘backwards’ as well as forwards – in other words, obtaining data that’s dated months before it was switched on.
Its developers are as yet unable to provide an exact description of how human survivors could access its data post-apocalypse.
Earth’s Black Box is a project led by marketing firm Clemenger BBDO in collaboration with the University of Tasmania
It’s possible anyone who comes across it will have to have the ‘capability of understanding and interpreting basic symbolism,’ the developers told ABC.
An electronic reader could potentially reactivate the box if it has entered a long-term dormant state as a result of catastrophe – for example, a ‘Mad Max’ type post-apocalyptic situation.
It’ll be built to survive any kind of climate catastrophe, but until then it could just be a tourist attraction for rural Tasmania, or a marketing stunt on behalf of Clemenger BBDO.
Either way, scientists are routinely predicting a ‘climate apocalypse’ could occur in as little as the next 100 years due to humanity failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
It will capture scientific data on temperature, sea levels and atmospheric CO2 to provide a document to human survivors of how humanity failed to avoid catastrophic climate change. Pictured, Australian fire crews extinguish a fire that crossed the Monaro Highway near Bredbo, New South Wales, February 2, 2020
Rising temperatures, dwindling food supplies and biodiversity loss brought on by climate changes could trigger global systemic collapse.
According to a landmark UN report earlier this year, Earth is likely to warm by 2.7°F within the next 20 years – a decade earlier than previously expected.
Last week, Climate Change Committee said the world does ‘not come close’ to achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement to limit climate change.
This Paris Agreement, adopted in 2016, aims to hold an increase in global average temperature to below 3.6ºF (2°C) and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 2.7°F (1.5°C).
THE PARIS AGREEMENT: A GLOBAL ACCORD TO LIMIT TEMPERATURE RISES THROUGH CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS
The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.
It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.
It seems the more ambitious goal of restricting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research which claims 25 per cent of the world could see a significant increase in drier conditions.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals with regards to reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
2) To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change
3) Governments agreed on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries
4) To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science
Source: European Commission