Increased concentrations of gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere -- mostly due to human activity -- are the main causes of global warming. Carbon dioxide from cars and industrial plants is released into the air and absorbs energy in the form of infrared radiation, which contributes to the overall increase in the planet's temperature. Nitrous oxide is another gas released that absorbs 270 times more energy as carbon dioxide, but there's not nearly as much nitrous in the atmosphere as there is carbon dioxide. Methane also contributes through the decomposition of materials. It absorbs energy and produces 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide.
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