It is all in the end, a matter of chemistry. Carbon dioxide is a form of what chemists call inorganic carbon—a simple molecule that is pretty inert. Fossil fuels are made of carbon in its organic form—often complex molecules that are far from inert. Combustion turns these organic complexities into inorganic simplicities: carbon dioxide, water vapour and heat.
Of the energy that people pay for 34% comes from burning oil, 27% from coal and 24% from gas. Nuclear power, hydroelectric power and all other renewables combined provide just 15%. The result of all this fossil fuel use is a modern industrial economy and an annual flow of 9.5bn tonnes of carbon out of the ground and into the atmosphere.
Through its effects on the plants, animals and microbes which make up the biosphere, on the climate and on the oceans, this industrial flow of carbon links the Earth’s distant geological past to its future over millennia to come. It is the single clearest piece of evidence for the idea that humans now have a power over the Earth as great as the forces of nature, and that their use of this power has opened up a new geological epoch that some scientists call the Anthropocene.
To appreciate the importance of this industrial carbon flow, you have to understand the carbon cycle in which it sits. At first, this context seems reassuring. Almost all microbes, and all animals, get the energy that they need for life from breaking up food made of organic molecules. The flame-free, internalised form of combustion by which they do so, which biologists call respiration, produces much more carbon dioxide than industry does.
Creed Comment: The Anthropocene fact that humans are now integral to the processes of the planet does not mean that they can change those processes without great effort - and cost. Nonetheless, it must be done.
Go deeper here https://carbon.substack.com/p/wizards-and-prophets-the-human-impact