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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Carbon Dioxide?

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Robin Burden answered
Carbon dioxide (or CO2) is a gas that is very important for the survival of our planet.

Plant growth is dependent on carbon dioxide (it's what plants breathe in during the day - in the same way that we breathe oxygen).

However, CO2 isn't always that great.

It can be toxic and very harmful to humans, and is responsible for the 'global warming' effect that is threatening the existence of life on this planet.

What's so great about CO2?
The earth's atmosphere is approximately 0.039% carbon dioxide. This might not sound like an awful lot, but the finely-tuned balance of gases in our planet's atmosphere is what keeps the earth full of life (unlike all the other planets in our solar system).

Plants are especially reliant on CO2, as they use it to get energy. Plants perform a chemical reaction known as photosynthesis which requires carbon dioxide - so, without it, we'd have no plants and thus nothing to eat!

What's so bad about carbon dioxide?
There are several negative aspects of carbon dioxide:

For instance, did you know that if carbon dioxide levels reach higher than 5% in a room, this is usually enough to kill a human being?

Another threat that CO2 poses comes in the form of global warming. Carbon emissions (partly due to the burning of fossil fuels) are causing a gap in our ozone layer.

The ozone layer is a 'film' around the earth that protects our planet from harmful rays coming from the sun. When holes appear in this layer, harmful rays enter the earth's atmosphere and raise the temperature of the planet.

This is known as the 'greenhouse effect', because it's similar to the reason why greenhouses get so hot.

The heating-up of the planet risks making it impossible to live on, and this can be seen as a threat that is directly related to CO2.

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