Education and Meanings

Carbon Dioxide: What is CO2?

The CO 2 , also known as carbon dioxide is a gaseous chemical compound and the gases that can aggravate the greenhouse effect.

Carbon dioxide is essential for life on the planet. Hard to detect, as it has no smell or taste, carbon is found in the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and is one of the main factors responsible for photosynthesis in plants.

In nature, there are some organisms that release CO 2 directly into the atmosphere. Examples are men and animals, but especially plants and trees. These play a different role in this environmental system and are known as CO 2 compensators .

Plants, in hot and dry conditions, close their pores to prevent the loss of water from their structure and change the breathing process to night mode, also called photorespiration, where they consume oxygen and produce what is called carbon dioxide.


CO 2 is a chemical compound formed by two oxygen atoms and one carbon atoms. It is a product derived from the reaction of different processes, such as: the combustion of coal and hydrocarbons, the fermentation of liquids and the respiration of humans and animals, and its presence, in high concentration in the atmosphere, can unbalance the so-called effect. stove.


The high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is responsible for global warming and can cause abrupt temperature rises on the planet.

The increase in the level of CO 2 is due to the conjunction of human activities since the beginning of the industrial era. With population growth, increasingly intense agriculture, increased land use, deforestation, industrialization and the use of fossil fuels for energy purposes, an increase in the accumulation of greenhouse gases on the earth’s surface, and the main one is CO 2 .

The production of carbon dioxide can happen naturally or through industrial production, and the presence of carbon dioxide is normal in the atmosphere, and its excess is harmful.

See here everything about Global Warming and Biofuels .


CO 2 is a liquefied gas, odorless, colorless, non-flammable and slightly acidic, denser than air and soluble in water.

It can be found in the breathing process, like men and animals and also plants and trees. CO 2 is also industrially generated using abundant sources of dioxide through petrochemical industry processes or through the burning of natural gas in cogeneration procedures. Carbon dioxide is also widely used in industries such as:

  • Food: Beverage gasification, carbonated beverages, packaging, freezing and cooling;
  • Deburring and grinding;
  • Neutralization;
  • Metal fabrication: welding;
  • Catering;
  • Medicinal, through metabolic mixtures;
  • Expanded plastic

Excess CO 2 in the atmosphere significantly increases the greenhouse gases that surround the Earth and suck up a portion of the infrared radiation that reflects through the Earth’s surface, making it impossible for the radiation to escape into space and warm the Earth’s surface . The main gases are carbon dioxide and methane.

Carbon dioxide, or carbon dioxide, is mainly emitted by the use of fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) in human activities. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CO 2 is the main responsible for global warming, being the gas with the highest emission by man.


Nature itself has tools to control CO 2 in the atmosphere. There are natural processes in the soil and chemical reactions that help to control and remove these gases from the atmosphere. It is also possible artificial actions that are applied indirectly, which can contribute significantly, as in the case of carbon sequestration.

In the case of CO 2 control , carbon sequestration is the main solution, whether obtained naturally or induced. Nature carries out the process through forests, oceans, forests and other places with organisms that, through photosynthesis, capture carbon and release oxygen into the atmosphere.

Human-induced techniques have the same goal: capturing carbon in order to reinforce natural forms.

To achieve this goal, it is possible to use CO 2 control through specific actions, such as reforestation and geological carbon sequestration, which translates into a tool that aims to return carbon to the subsoil, where it is compressed, transported and subsequently injected into a geological reservoir.

Nature itself presents a solution for removing the gas through photosynthesis. However, with the continuous deforestation of vegetation, it becomes more difficult to purify the air through the natural ways offered.


Carbon dioxide is the gas that most contributes to the greenhouse effect reaching large concentrations in the atmosphere. According to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CO 2 is identified as the main contributor to global warming. In this perspective, both human and natural actions are included. Man, however, represents 78% of the responsibility for the emission, which accelerates the exposure of the atmosphere to gases that lead to the imbalance of the greenhouse effect.

This gas is part of the natural composition of the terrestrial ecosystem. So much so that it is produced naturally by respiration, the decomposition of plants and animals and natural forest fires. The problem is not found in its natural production, but in the great increase in this production of CO 2 by man, which causes irremediable damage to the planet.

Man is solely responsible for this worsening of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Its activities, such as rampant deforestation and burning of fossil fuels, contribute to the high release of this gas in the atmosphere in a harmful way.

Deforestation is responsible for causing an imbalance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as, apart from releasing the gas through wood burning, it reduces the number of trees responsible for photosynthesis, which consume the CO 2 existing in the atmosphere. The ecological system loses the main transforming agent of the gas.

The burning of fossil fuels, substances of mineral origin formed by carbon compounds, including coal, natural gas and petroleum derivatives, such as gasoline and diesel oil, used to generate electricity and run cars, they are the main cause of the superabundant emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing pollution and changes in the thermal balance of the entire planet.

The increase in the greenhouse effect does not only affect terrestrial life, it also has a strong impact on the navy.

Another aggravating factor is that CO 2 has an estimated permanence in the atmosphere, which can vary from 50 to 200 years, without its decomposition. This accumulation makes its accelerated distribution in the environment even more harmful.

As well as carbon dioxide, there are other greenhouse gases that also have a negative impact on the planet.

The imbalance of the greenhouse effect occurs with the great concentration of CO2 . Greenhouse gases are gases that absorb a part of the sun’s rays and redistribute them in the form of radiation in the atmosphere, warming the planet.

In warming the Earth, gases work like glass in greenhouse. The sun, being the Earth’s main source of energy, emits a set of radiations called the solar spectrum. This spectrum is encompassed by light and heat radiation, of which infrared, ie, calorific, stands out.

Light radiation has a short wavelength, naturally crossing the atmosphere, while infrared radiation has a great length, with more complications to cross the atmosphere, being absorbed by greenhouse gases during the act.

The imbalance has direct effects on the planet’s temperature and affects the entire ecosystem.


There are many energy sources available on our planet, which can be divided and classified into two types: renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

The concept of renewable energy sources is based on those activities in which their use as energy has a renewable clean use character, which can be maintained and used over time. Renewable energies are not subject to depletion of their source, as they are always renewed, having the main representatives of the wind energy (from the wind), solar energy and biomass, which can be obtained through various natural resources.

When dealing with non-renewable energy sources, we must understand that these have limited resources, which are depleted, as is the example of fossil fuels such as oil. Such resources depend on the amount in which they will be found in the terrestrial environment.

There are several types of renewable energy. With the concept of sustainable development active in society, and the search for clean technologies, new forms of energy production that can use existing renewable resources and natural phenomena are discovered every day.

See here everything about Environmental Sustainability and Renewable Energy .



It uses material of vegetable origin to produce energy (sugarcane bagasse, alcohol, wood, rice straw, vegetable oils, etc.).

See here more about the meaning of Biomass .


Ethanol is produced mainly from sugarcane, beetroot and eucalyptus. In the form of energy, it can be used to operate vehicle engines or in the production of electrical energy. The main advantages are that it is a renewable source and less polluting than gasoline.


Biodiesel totally or partially replaces petroleum diesel oil in diesel cycle engines. It has advantages for being renewable and non-polluting. The main disadvantage of biodiesel is soil depletion.


Solar energy uses the source of energy from the sun, through the sun’s rays, to generate clean energy. This system has the main benefits of the forms of non-pollution, being renewable and the abundant source of energy.

Unfortunately, this type of energy is still expensive and unfeasible due to its costs. With new technologies, it is possible that the costs of this energy matrix are reduced and make it more accessible to the market.


Wind energy, which is produced through the force of the wind, is one of the main bets for the future energy of the world. It is captured through the well-known wind turbines.

The main advantages of wind energy are its abundance in the environment and costs, which are more accessible in certain places. Wind energy, however, needs space to be captured in order to offer sufficient production.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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