How long is our story?

Spread your arms out - the span represents the age of the earth.
If we let time run from left to right, then the earth would be born at the tip of the middle finger of your left hand (Chapter 1 of our story).

The first organisms arose shortly before your left elbow (Chapters 2 and 3), these were still ever so tiny creatures, at first like bacteria, later also one-celled algae. If such organisms occur en masse, they form a type of slime, from which a blue-green type soon diverged: cyanobacteria. This slime was the definitive form of life over a very long time. It reigned for the entire length of your left arm, over your right shoulder and beyond your right elbow, further over your lower arm. It is the slime that in the entire story of  CO2 almost plays the most important role – because through photosynthesis it transformed the CO2 into oxygen and glucose (sugar). And that is the prerequisite for everything else. First somewhere around the right wrist comes the development of higher life forms (Chapters 4 – 6).

The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, two epochs in which enormous limestone deposits formed (and limestone is bound up CO2) (Chapters 7 – 9), and at the same time the era of the dinosaurs, lasted barely the length of a finger. The lignite soft (brown) coal deposits (Chapter 10) formed in less than a fingertip. And if you then go over the tip of your right middle finger with a nail file, then the entire history of mankind has disappeared.

From the standpoint of time our contribution to the CO2 story is vanishingly small. Nevertheless it’s significant, because we are tapping the different geologically historical reservoirs of CO2, whether it be coal, natural gas, oil or limestone, and are setting the CO2 free again that was stored over incredible time spans.

The history of climate is tightly tied to the CO2. CO2 amplifies the natural greenhouse effect.

But the climate is a complex affair, and CO2 and climate are not always in sync. Our exhibition shows this too.