Within months, CO2-trapped heat surpasses warming from combustion
The planet quickly feels the burn from the lasting effects of fossil fuel combustion, new research shows.
When a fossil fuel burns, it radiates heat and releases carbon dioxide. Once in the atmosphere, some of that CO2 can linger for thousands of years and trap heat that would otherwise leak into space. Over the lifetime of the released CO2, the trapped heat exceeds the heat released during combustion by a factor of more than 100,000, researchers report online June 2 in Geophysical Research Letters.
For the lump of coal in your Christmas stocking, the greenhouse warming surpasses the released heat in just 34 days.