CO2 - Too Much of a Good Thing

CO2 - Too much of a good thing?Carbon is an essential building block of life. Carbon-based fuels are valuable sources of deportable, storable energy. Can we use too much carbon based fuel? Why it matters to the atmosphere, and what you can do about it.

Interesting and engaging physical models (without PowerPoint, posters, or handouts) can help teachers and speakers show a nontechnical audience

(1) how CO2 is formed in the combustion of hydrocarbon molecules,

(2) how much CO2 humans produce in daily activities,

(3) why CO2 causes heat to be trapped in the atmosphere,

(4) the properties of CO2 and its health and safety risks, and

(5) how geologic storage of CO2 can work to reduce emissions.

These demonstrations require only low-cost, readily available materials and have proven to be successful with a variety of audiences—from adults to elementary-school-age children. The models are simple enough to be replicated by audience members and can be used in school or community programs.

Activity Materials/Instructions



 CO2 - Too much of a good thing?       CO2 - Too much of a good thing?

Videos to support the activity

What happens when we burn fossil fuels for electricity? What can we do about it? (suggest showing before the activities)

Watch the STORE Video "What the Heck is Sequestration" below, available on our YouTube Channel.


How do we put Carbon Dioxide back where we got it? (suggest showing after the activities)

Watch the STORE Video "Put it Back" below, available on our YouTube Channel.


Web resources

Audience-Pleasing Physical Models to Support CO2 Outreach at the Gulf Coast Carbon Center (videos to demonstrate some of the activities)