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The story of carbonthe building block of life that, ironically, is humanity's great threat.Carbon has always been the ubiquitous architect of life: Indeed, all living things need it to stay alive, and carbon cycles through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere in a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. Yet, since the start of the industrial era, carbon dioxide emissions have sped up the carbon cycle, and chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the ozone layer and warming the planet. InThe Carbon Age, science writer Eric Roston evokes this essential element, illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization, and chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used carbon over centuries. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston charts how we reached the brink of catastrophe, making us aware, as never before, of the seminal impact carbon has on our lives.
Eric Roston covered technology, international trade, and energy issues at Time magazine for six years. This is his first book. He lives in Washington, D.C.