• Carbon is essential for life on Earth and, as carbon dioxide, it is an important atmospheric gas.
  • Carbon occurs in many forms on Earth.
  • The element moves through organisms and then returns to the environment.
  • Healthy living forests and the oceans act as carbon sinks.
  • Fossil fuels are a source for CO2 when they form, but they are a sink when they are used to supply our energy demands.
  • The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is very low.
  • This means that a small increase or decrease in the atmospheric CO2 can have a large effect.
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