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Climate change due to combustion of fossil fuels

  1. Nov 28, 2008 #1
    Has anyone ever researched what contribution, if any, the actual combustion of fossil fuels contributes to global warming? If you added up all the BTU's of energy which have been released in the last few decades, would it add up to something or is it negligible? Of course, all motion due to burning fossil fuels ends up as heat due to friction, etc (ok, maybe some EM energy leaves the system, and things like that), but is the capacity of the earth great enough to absorb this heat?

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2008 #2


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    I don't have the reference handy, but if I remember the actual heat produced is negligible. It's supposed to be the effects of the gasses on incoming/outgoing heat that causes climate change.
  4. Nov 29, 2008 #3


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    Indeed, total "technical" energy use by humanity (meaning, not counting the sun that heats us and makes vegetables grow etc...) is about 16 TW. The total received power by the earth from the sun is about 176 PW, 10 000 times more.
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4
    Yet, on local levels it is measurable.

    http://www.knmi.nl/~laatdej/2006joc1292.pdf [Broken]

    in the conclusion:

    Note that it also find:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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