Explained: The Carbon Cycle and Climate Change

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carbon cycle and climate change

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For years, we have known about the dangers of climate change and the greenhouse effect. However, many people need help understanding the science behind it. This blog post explains the carbon cycle and how it relates to climate change.

The carbon cycle is the process by which carbon is exchanged between the atmosphere, oceans, land, and rocks. The main player in the carbon cycle is CO2, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere leading to global warming.

How does the carbon cycle work?

The carbon cycle is key to understanding climate change

Well, it all starts with photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process that uses sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar. Plants use this sugar to grow; as they do, they release oxygen into the atmosphere.

O2 + H2O + light –> C6H12O6 + 6O2

So far, so good, right?

But where does the carbon dioxide come from in the first place? That’s where humans come in. We release CO2 into the atmosphere through activities such as burning fossil fuels like coal and oil or through deforestation (cutting down trees). Deforestation is a major problem because it reduces the number of trees that can absorb CO2.

Once CO2 is released into the atmosphere, it can stay there for a long time – up to 100 years! – before being absorbed by plants or oceans. And during that time, it traps heat from the sun’s rays inside the Earth’s atmosphere causing global warming and climate change.

Scary stuff! But there is some good news. We can slow down climate change by reducing our emissions of CO2. How? By using renewable energy sources like solar and wind power instead of fossil fuels and planting more trees.


The carbon cycle is a vital part of how our planet functions. It’s responsible for exchanging carbon between the atmosphere, land, and oceans.

However, human activity has thrown off the balance of the carbon cycle, causing more CO2 to stay in the atmosphere and resulting in climate change. We must take action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and prevent further damage to our planet.

We hope this blog post has helped you to understand the science behind climate change and what we can do to slow it down.

  • Simon Elstad

    As assistant editor at Greener Ideal, Simon champions clean energy, mobility, tech and the environment. He’s passionate about uncovering innovative solutions that power a sustainable future. When he's not dissecting envirotech data, you can find him exploring nature, actively supporting wildlife & environmental conservation efforts.

    Contact: [email protected]

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