3. What is CO₂?

Third blog, February 6, 2019

CO₂ is a gas that is just as important for nature as oxygen is for humans. The C atom functions as a building material in every living being, and in the soil it is required for the soil to be fertile (it takes the form of humus).

In some countries CO₂ has been classified as a “polluting gas”. That is a mistake - and it shows that one does not know how important CO₂ is for all forms of life. If there is a flood due to an excessive amount of water, are we going to consider water as a pollutant? I guess not. So the overconcentration of CO₂ in our atmosphere does not make this gas a pollutant either.

CO₂ is a molecule that is released in nature in many processes, but which is also created during the combustion of fossil fuels. During the combustion one C atom connects with two O atoms. We simply blow this gas into the air like cigarette smoke but not yet banned - which we then breathe. Nature itself also consumes (absorbs) and emits CO₂. Ideally, this process is in balance, but here too history shows that the CO₂ content in the atmosphere has experienced large fluctuations.

Looking at the last few thousand years, it is clear that the burning of fossil fuels and the enormous deforestation cause the current increase of the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere.

Now that we know what CO₂ is, I will discuss in the next blog what the connection is between CO₂ and a tree. This knowledge is essential to understand how the increasing concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere can be addressed, and how we can combat climate change. 

If you want to know exactly how this works, keep following these blogs to learn how and spread the message.

The title of my next blog is 'The miracle of the tree'.

Pieter Hoff
Green Musketeer

Background information

On 8 October 2018, the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued an emergency call to all countries to reduce their CO₂ emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The Netherlands wants to comply with this by means of a Climate Agreement. Pieter Hoff is of the opinion that the Climate Agreement needs additional policies to achieve 0% net CO₂ emissions by 2030 and that this supporting policy can be implemented much more efficiently, quicker and less costly than the current proposals that are included in the proposed Dutch Climate Agreement.