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Greenhouse gases play an important role in the Earth's climate by trapping heat in the atmosphere. They are necessary to a degree, but excessive amounts of these gases can cause changes in temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns that are disruptive to our ecosystems. These climate changes, which we have experienced in recent years, threaten the survival of some plant and animal species and can also have negative impacts on human health through increased pollution, increased prevalence of disease, and extreme temperatures. The primary source of greenhouse gases is the burning of fossil fuels used to produce energy and power motor vehicles.