Carbon cycle re-balancing

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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 decomposition. 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 almost 400 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.

Burning domestic refuse to generate power can be promoted as a recycling, 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