An element is just a single atom. Carbon itself is an element, like gold, oxygen and hydrogen. Molecules are clusters of elements from just 2 to hundreds. Water or H2O is a molecule. Carbon is a part of many molecules, especially the ones that make up living organisms.
Carbon exists in other compounds that comprise greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. Carbon also exists in Volatile Organic Compounds, which are emitted from automobiles as well as biogenically from vegetation and plants. Hydrocarbons also are emitted from anthropogenic sources, and these compounds contribute to greenhouse gas formation.
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