CARBON DIOXIDE: animation of an carbon dioxide CO2 molecule
red = oxygen (O)
black = carbon (C)
Carbon Dioxide consists of two oxygen atoms covalently joined to a central carbon atom. The three atoms lie in a line (it is a linear molecule). The central carbon atom (black) is pictured as a sphere drawn at the scale of the carbon covalent radius just touching two oxygen atoms (red) drawn at the scale of their covalent radii. The transparent spheres represent the van der Waals surfaces of the carbon and oxygen atoms.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions are considered a major threat to the Earth because of their capacity modify the climate by insulating the surface and so create a GREENHOUSE EFFECT. The glow at the bottom of the image represents the burning of fossil fuels which is a major cause of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. There is a major debate about the future sources of energy in Australia as nuclear power is compared with fossil fuels such as coal in an attempt to prevent global warming.