Summary In this work the kinetics of the high-temperature oxidation of the powder amorphous carbon and bulk single-wall carbon nanotubes is studied. The thermal degradation of the sample is measured by differential scanning calorimetry using the continuous heating regime up to 1273 K. Also, the oxidation resistance of the samples is evaluated by the mass loss in a thermogravimetric analyzer. Both flowing and static oxygen and dry-air atmospheres are used. The specific role of the external diffusivity of the reagent gas is analyzed. The kinetics of the chemical reaction is specified using the Kissinger, Coats and Redfern methods.