Seeding oceans with iron may not impact climate change

Historically, the oceans have done much of the planet's heavy lifting when it comes to sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Microscopic organisms known collectively as phytoplankton, which grow throughout the ...

New catalyst recycles greenhouse gases into fuel and hydrogen gas

Scientists have taken a major step toward a circular carbon economy by developing a long-lasting, economical catalyst that recycles greenhouse gases into ingredients that can be used in fuel, hydrogen gas, and other chemicals. ...

Bezos launches $10 bn fund to combat climate change

His company is often criticized for its environmental record, but Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and the world's richest man, said Monday that he was committing $10 billion to a new fund to tackle climate change.

Bushfire crisis hit 75% of Australians: survey

Three in four Australians—almost 18 million people—were affected by the country's deadly bushfire crisis, according to a survey released Tuesday that also pointed to plummeting support for the government and for coal ...

Earth's glacial cycles enhanced by Antarctic sea-ice

During past glacial periods the earth was about 6ºC colder and the Northern hemisphere continents were covered by ice sheets up to 4 kilometers thick. However, the earth would not have been so cold, nor the ice sheets so ...

Wall Street investors react to climate change

Climate change is being felt in a corner of the world different from where one might expect: Wall Street, where some of the biggest investors are starting to take action.

Carbon

Carbon (pronounced /ˈkɑrbən/) is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. There are three naturally occurring isotopes, with 12C and 13C being stable, while 14C is radioactive, decaying with a half-life of about 5730 years. Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity. The name "carbon" comes from Latin language carbo, coal, and, in some Romance and Slavic languages, the word carbon can refer both to the element and to coal.

There are several allotropes of carbon of which the best known are graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon. The physical properties of carbon vary widely with the allotropic form. For example, diamond is highly transparent, while graphite is opaque and black. Diamond is among the hardest materials known, while graphite is soft enough to form a streak on paper (hence its name, from the Greek word "to write"). Diamond has a very low electrical conductivity, while graphite is a very good conductor. Under normal conditions, diamond has the highest thermal conductivity of all known materials. All the allotropic forms are solids under normal conditions but graphite is the most thermodynamically stable.

All forms of carbon are highly stable, requiring high temperature to react even with oxygen. The most common oxidation state of carbon in inorganic compounds is +4, while +2 is found in carbon monoxide and other transition metal carbonyl complexes. The largest sources of inorganic carbon are limestones, dolomites and carbon dioxide, but significant quantities occur in organic deposits of coal, peat, oil and methane clathrates. Carbon forms more compounds than any other element, with almost ten million pure organic compounds described to date, which in turn are a tiny fraction of such compounds that are theoretically possible under standard conditions.

Carbon is one of the least abundant elements in the Earth's crust, but the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. It is present in all known lifeforms, and in the human body carbon is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen. This abundance, together with the unique diversity of organic compounds and their unusual polymer-forming ability at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth, make this element the chemical basis of all known life.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA