fossil fuels

When you ride in a car, watch your favorite television show, or take a hot shower, you're most likely using fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are fuels from Earth like coal, oil, and natural gas. Burning fossil fuel is bad news for Earth's climate. It releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases absorb and keep heat in the atmosphere, causing temperatures around the world to warm.

Definition: fuel formed from remains of ancient plants and animals; coal, natural gas, oil
Found: within Earth's crust
Uses: provide energy for power plants, heat buildings, produce petroleum (gasoline) for cars, trucks, and airplanes
Emissions: carbon dioxide when burned
Cool Fact: The average car is driven 12,000 miles a year, and produces about 5.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Image credits: main image, © istockphoto.com.