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Carbon Dioxide And The Environment

Carbon dioxide is CO2, or a combination of the two elements carbon and oxygen. There is another chemical called carbon monoxide that is CO, or one carbon to one oxygen molecule.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and therefore has been the focus of much attention and research in the last couple of decades. It is known to be one of the single most important chemicals in determining the temperature of the planet since its inception.

Scientists have generally shown that there has been a strong link in the past between temperatures and the levels of carbon dioxide in the air. This is because carbon dioxide absorbs heat and therefore it warms up the atmosphere, in contrast to something like sulphur dioxide that actually reflects heat and therefore cools the planet.

Although there are many things that impact the temperature of the planet, and there are long term and short term feedback cycles meaning that some things are a little blurred in terms of what is cause and what is effect, overall the majority of scientists are in no doubt that carbon dioxide is the single most important factor affecting the planet's climate.

This means that if the level of it does rise in the atmosphere by around double then predictions show global temperature rises of around 3 degrees celsius which is very significant for all sorts of important processes on earth.

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