CROWN COPYRIGHT / HEALTH & SAFETY LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CROWN COPYRIGHT / HEALTH & SAFETY LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules, illustration. Carbon dioxide is formed by two oxygen atoms (left and right in the molecule at centre) covalently bonded to a carbon atom (centre). The atomic nuclei are also shown here. Carbon dioxide is a gas used by plants during photosynthesis to produce energy and release oxygen as a by-product. It is also produced during respiration, and released during combustion of hydrocarbon substances like oil and coal. Earth's atmosphere contains carbon dioxide, however high amounts of CO2 can contribute to greenhouse gas effects of global warming and climate change.
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