SOLAR serdar What is the carbon cycle?
Carbon is found in many places on Earth. It is the key element in all living things, plants, animals and humans.
Carbon is found in the atmosphere in the gas carbon dioxide and it is also part of the soil, and is dissolved in water such as lakes and oceans. Gases containing carbon also move between the ocean’s surface and the atmosphere through diffusion. Carbon is found in trees and plants which store carbon as they grow. Decomposed plants and trees become compacted over time and transform into fossil fuels such as oil and coal stored in the ground.
Extracting fossil fuels from the ground and burning them for energy so we can run cars, produce electricity and manufacture goods releases carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Living plants and trees extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but when humans cut down or burn trees the carbon they contain turns into carbon dioxide which then enters the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, so the addition of carbon to the atmosphere can contribute to global warming.
In the UK:
40 per cent of our carbon emissions come from business activity
29 per cent are from transport
25 per cent are from homes
The biggest sources of carbon emissions for most people are likely to be:
the energy used in the home (heating is the biggest use)