Combustion produces CO2 and heat, but heat trapped by atmospheric CO2 is greater

By on June 10, 2015

Heat trapped in the atmosphere by carbon dioxide produced by combustion is actually greater than the amount of heat directly produced from combustion, according to a new study from the Carnegie Institution. Not only is it greater, it may be around 100,000 times greater over many years.

Even in the short term, the contribution of heat to the atmosphere as a result of carbon dioxide emissions from combustion is surprisingly large compared to the heat produced directly by combustion. The study estimated that the carbon dioxide-caused heating exceeds the direct combustion heat produced by coal combustion in only 34 days. This result is for a single instance of coal combustion. Oil combustion does the same in 45 days and natural gas in 59 days.

The study emphasizes the importance of cutting carbon dioxide emissions immediately wherever possible to curtail further global warming.

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