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Carbon cycle re-balancing

The carbon cycle is the process by which carbon is exchanged between the four reservoirs of carbon: the biosphere, the earth, the air and water. Exchanges take place in several ways, including respiration, transpiration, combustion and decay. The carbon balance, or carbon budget, is the balance of exchange between the four reservoirs.

Debate about 're-balancing the carbon cycle' arises from a concern that use of fossil fuels, which has accelerated since the start of the industrial revolution, has caused carbon to accumulate in the atmosphere. Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are estimated to have risen from 280 ppm to 360 ppm since 1800 and this is linked to global warming. It is therefore argued that the carbon cycle should be re-balanced by reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

'Carbon cycle re-balancing' is a useful name for a group of environmental policies listed below. The name gives a specific reason for adopting these policies. Related names, including pleas for sustainable development and participation in the green movement are politics-based rather than science-based.

  • Carbon offset - for example by photosynthesis (eg in new forests)
  • Carbon capture and storage - extraction of CO2 and placing it underground or underwater
  • Sustainable energy - a shift from fossil fuels energy to wind power and solar power
  • Nuclear power - as an alternative to fossil fuels
  • Sustainable design - to reduce inputs and outputs of energy
  • Sustainable transport - to reduce reliance on fossil fuels

Burning domestic refuse to generate power can be promoted as a re-cycling, and therefore sustainable, policy. But from a carbon cycle re-balancing standpoint it is better to compost as much domestic refuse as possible.

See also

  • Ecocities
  • Sustainable landscape architecture
  • Green transport


  • Re-balancing the carbon cycle
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Carbon_cycle_re-balancing". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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