CO2 as a Greenhouse Gas - The Importance of Carbon in the Atmosphere

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You have probably heard in the news that we need to reduce our carbon emissions to prevent global climate change, but what are carbon emissions? And why are they important? Carbon emissions can be defined as the release of carbon into the atmosphere, mainly in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) or as methane (CH4). This occurs during the burning of a fuel source to produce energy. A common example of this is the use of a fossil fuel, such as gasoline, to power our vehicles (1, 2). But why is carbon dioxide such a big deal? What properties does it have that make it such a big threat to the climate of our planet?