Energy generation from fossil fuels also produces a build-up of gases - principally carbon dioxide and methane - which is thought to be a major cause of global warming.
When fossil fuels are burnt - by industry, in power stations and in vehicles and planes - the gases enter the atmosphere. Although these gasses have always been present in the world's atmosphere, their concentration is gradually increasing as more and more fossil fuels are burnt.
Scientists believe that the build-up of these so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere acts like a blanket or greenhouse around the planet; heat is trapped inside the Earth's atmosphere. This is the greenhouse effect, and the resulting increase in global temperatures is called global warming.
It's thought that the build-up of greenhouse gases impacts on global temperature in two ways:
Another group of greenhouse gases includes the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs for short). CFCs have been responsible for depleting the ozone layer as they attack and destroy ozone molecules.
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