That is, they take up less than would be expected and so they test older than they really are.
Also, the Genesis flood would have greatly upset the carbon balance.
The flood buried a huge amount of carbon, which became coal, oil, etc., lowering the total C ratio in plants/animals/the atmosphere before the flood had to be lower than what it is now.
This also has to be corrected for. Second, the ratio of C in the atmosphere at that time to be estimated, and so partial calibration of the “clock” is possible.
Accordingly, carbon dating carefully applied to items from historical times can be useful.
It cannot be used to date volcanic rocks, for example.