Carbon also occurs in a form, discovered only recently, known as fullerenes or buckyballs.
Carbon dating fossil fuels
It is passed from one organism to the next in complex molecules, and returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide again.
Green plants and algae remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by When an animal eats a plant, carbon from the plant becomes part of the fats and proteins in the animal.
Microorganisms and some animals feed on waste material from animals, and the remains of dead animals and plants.
The carbon then becomes part of these microorganisms and detritus feeders.
But that is not the only scandal in the shipping world.
Today award-winning science writer Fred Pearce – environmental consultant to New Scientist and author of Confessions Of An Eco Sinner – reveals that the super-ships that keep the West in everything from Christmas gifts to computers pump out killer chemicals linked to thousands of deaths because of the filthy fuel they use. The filthy black smoke kicked out by funnels on cross-Channel ferries, cruise liners, container ships, oil tankers and even tugboats.
As an element, carbon occurs in a striking variety of forms.
Coal, soot, and diamonds are all nearly pure forms of carbon.
There are now an estimated 100,000 ships on the seas, and the fleet is growing fast as goods are ferried in vast quantities from Asian industrial powerhouses to consumers in Europe and North America. This Christmas, most of our presents will have come by super-ship from the Far East; ships such as the Emma Maersk and her seven sisters Evelyn, Eugen, Estelle, Ebba, Eleonora, Elly and Edith Maersk.