Most living things produce CO2 when undergoing cellular respiration, the process of producing usable energy from more complex molecules (such as sugars). A big source of greenhouse gas emissions from a natural process that we’ve taken advantage of is the methane emissions from the belching of ruminants (cows, bison, deer, sheep, etc.). When these animals eat grass, the bacteria that help break it down into useful molecules emit methane, a greenhouse gas about 25 times as strong as CO2.
Plants produce carbon. During the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is produced during cellular respiration. Volcanoes also produce large amounts of carbon. During volcanic eruptions a certain amount of carbon dioxide is let out in the atmosphere. Don’t mistake this as being harmful though because “human-made CO2 exceeds the estimated global release of CO2 from volcanoes by at least 150 times. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by eruption-generated particles in the stratosphere (the haze effect). Greenhouse warming of the earth has been particularly evident since 1980. Without the cooling influence of such eruptions as El Chichon (1982) and Mt. Pinatubo (1991), described below, greenhouse warming would have been more pronounced.”
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