Carbon. Carbon dioxide, carbon emissions, carbon footprint. Terms heavily used for decades, yet often ignored. To appreciate the importance scientists, environmentalists and educators place on carbon, the facts are here.
What is Carbon?
- Carbon is a naturally occurring element, one of few known since ancient times.
- It’s the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium and oxygen.
- Carbon is the fifteenth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust.
- Carbon cannot be broken down by chemical means (as an element on the Periodic Table).
- Carbon is essential in life on earth, as we know it.
- In its purest form, it can exist as graphite and diamond,
- Carbon creates the building blocks for life on Earth.
How and why of Carbon dioxide.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) = one atom carbon, two atoms of oxygen created mid-air.
- Plants capture carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, releasing oxygen and a portion of CO2.
- Humans and animals inhale oxygen and release the carbon dioxide, the ocean absorbs and releases CO2.
“Earth in its natural state, without humans, is able to maintain carbon neutrality.”
Nature is balanced under these basic processes. The carbon dioxide emissions in Earth’s atmosphere create a global layer holding the sun’s heat on earth, allowing all life forms to thrive. Carbon and CO2 are not true enemies to Earth. We are, by throwing the natural balance.
How carbon emissions are created.
- Population globally has increased, creating more heat sources through use of modern equipment.
- Fossil fuels.
- Manufacturing, processing and machinery use has increased with the Industrial Age.
- Forests cleared for development, with few replacement plantations, reducing CO2 absorption.
“Mankind is now adding 39 Billion Metric Tons of excess carbon in its atmosphere, the highest in human history and increasing further every year.”