Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure and exists in Earth's atmosphere in this state, as a trace gas at a concentration of 0.039 per cent by volume.
As part of the carbon cycle known as photosynthesis, plants, algae, and cyanobacteria absorb carbon dioxide, light, and water to produce carbohydrate energy for themselves and oxygen as a waste product. But in darkness photosynthesis cannot occur, and during the resultant respiration small amounts of carbon dioxide are produced. Carbon dioxide is also produced by combustion of coal or hydrocarbons, the fermentation of liquids and the breathing of humans and animals. In addition it is emitted from volcanoes, hot springs, geysers and other places where the earth’s crust is thin; and is freed from carbonate rocks by dissolution. CO2 is also found in lakes at depth under the sea, and commingled with oil and gas deposits.
The environmental effects of carbon dioxide are of significant interest. In the earth's atmosphere, it acts as a greenhouse gas which plays a major role in global warming and anthropogenic climate change. Also a major source of ocean acidification is CO2 which dissolves in water forming carbonic acid, which is a weak acid, because CO2 molecule ionization in water is incomplete.
- CO2 + H2O H2CO3