The elements: Carbon's all around

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, W.V. The Obama administration has unveiled new rules for building new coal and gas plants -- the EPA is expected to require new coal plants to include carbon capture technology.

In the latest of their ongoing talks about the elements, Kai and the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt discuss carbon – what it is, what it bonds with, and how it’s commoditized.  Justin mulls on the limited success of carbon dioxide emission pricing in Europe.

He and Kai also discuss carbon dioxide, which some say is to blame for global warming. They say its ability to absorb infrared radiation adversely affects the earth’s ozone layer, even though it's present in relatively small quantities. 

Justin ponders the effect of the discovery of carbon’s energy-storing properties on global growth which, since the Industrial Revolution have been dramatic. 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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