What is carbon dioxide? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Data centers glossary:

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an odorless, non-flammable gas composed of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen.

Carbon dioxide is the bi-product of the combustion of fossil fuels and also of almost all living cellular respiration. (The only known exception is deep sea volcanic vent chemosynthesizing bacteria.) The cellular respiration of plants occurs in night cycle, when they burn off the energy produced in photosynthesis.

Among greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide is the main driving force of the greenhouse effect, due not only to its abundance in the environment but also to its interaction with methane. When methane comes in contact with carbon dioxide, it strips one of CO2’s oxygen molecules, leaving a single molecule of carbon monoxide, which then reacts with ozone to destroy it. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also has the effect of acidifying the ocean as it dissolves in water to form carbonic acid.

CO2’s environmental impact is behind the increasing drive for countries, businesses and even individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, sometimes with a goal of becoming carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative. To achieve these aims, strive to balance and offset the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by their activities.

This was last updated in December 2013
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    - Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third-party to provide failover in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. (WhatIs.com)

  • RTA (recovery time actual)

    - RTA (recovery time actual) is the amount of real-world time it takes for an organization to recover its systems and business processes following an unplanned disruption; that amount of time can dif... (WhatIs.com)

  • white box server

    - A white box server is a generic server made from commercially available retail computer parts. The phrase "white box" merely indicates that the equipment is generic or brand-agnostic -- the server ... (SearchDataCenter.com)


  • Data centers

    - Terms related to data centers, including definitions about network operations centers (NOCs) and words and phrases about the storage, management and the transmission of data.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About carbon dioxidePowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.