Global warming is a tricky problem, a dilemma not at all aided by the fact that greenhouse gases are invisible. If you can’t see something, if you don’t interact with it during your daily life and if it doesn’t have any obvious, specific effect on you now, then it is easier for it to slip to the back of your mind.
New Yorkers, for instance, pumped out roughly 54 million metric tones of carbon dioxide in 2010, a 7 million ton drop over 2005 levels, according to a report from New York City’s Mayor’s office. To give a sense of what carbon dioxide emissions would look like if we could see them, the Environmental Defense Fund partnered with Carbon Visuals to produce the above video, showcasing what it would look like if, instead of New York City’s carbon dioxide drifting off into the atmosphere, it hung around as giant one-ton balls of gas.
More from Smithsonian.com: