The Carbon Chronicles: Who owns the air?
The Carbon Chronicles is an experimental animated visualisation of the build-up of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses has radically altered the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a collaboration between artists from the Manifest Data Lab and scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. The animation maps from the industrial revolution to the present day the regions contributing most to the climate crisis, which can be traced through the stalagmite growths representing CO2 emissions growing out from the different countries. Beginning with the UK in the 1750s, emissions from coal start enveloping the planet, other regions soon follow. By the late 1800s through to the current period, growing industrial and extraction activity in the Global North is responsible for 92% of CO2 with 8% coming from the Global South. The spread of CO2 described in the animation mirrors the wider historic processes of power distribution visited on poorer countries and shows that the atmosphere is as contested a space as the territories beneath it. The work describes a living breathing planet, under the pressure of human produced exhalations of CO2. It attributes responsibility in ways that can inform the need for equitable solutions to the climate crisis that are mindful of the historic consequences of carbon exploitation and its impacts.
The Carbon Chronicles informs the need for equitable solutions to the climate crisis that are mindful of the historic consequences of carbon exploitation to ask: Who Owns the Air?