CO2, a long history

The formidable history of CO2

4 and a half billion years ago, suddenly there was light. Everything began with the explosion of a supernova. The residue collected together to form planets, satellites and the Earth. Around the Earth a natural gas accumulated holding the sun's energy and absorbing the Earth's heat. It was Carbon dioxide and together with water and oxygen it gave birth to life.


The first organisms to live on the planet were born, grew and died, their bodies made of carbon. When their life cycle finished, they didn't always immediately turn into CO2, sometimes they were trapped underground, where they lay dormant for millions of years, eventually becoming coal, oil and natural gas deposits: fossil fuels. Oil was the first fossil fuel to be used 6,000 year's ago, when the people of Mesopotamia used bitumen to build. 

With the industrial revolution, oil began to drive trains, ships and the first cars. The consumption of fossil fuels has released the CO2 that has been trapped in sediments since the time of the dinosaurs. And this is a problem. At the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air has reached 412 parts per million, in the nineteenth century it was not even 300. Having helped to create life on earth, CO2 now threatens to bring it to an end.