Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas are natural resources that come from under the ground. Thousands of years ago, people discovered that burning these fuels produced heat for warmth and to cook food. We also burn these resources today to make electricity and to run cars.
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Burning coal is the most common way to produce electricity. It releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, a gas which many scientists say is harming our environment by slowly making the earth warmer through a process called the greenhouse effect.
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Electricity can also be produced by plants that use natural gas instead of coal. Gas-fueled power generation plants can reduce greenhouse gases by over half.
We use fossil fuels in the form of gasoline and diesel fuel to provide energy to drive cars, buses and trucks. These vehicles contribute to most of the summer air pollution in our cities.
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Fossil fuels are also a non-renewable resource, which means that as we use them up they can’t be replaced, and supplies of these fuels will run out in the future.
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