Long-Term Global Heating from Energy Usage



Even if civilization on Earth stops polluting the biosphere with greenhouse gases, humanity could eventually be awash in too much heat, namely, the dissipated heat by-product generated by any nonrenewable energy source. Apart from the Sun's natural aging—which causes an approximately 1% luminosity rise for each 108 years and thus about 1°C increase in Earths surface temperature—well within 1000 years our technological society could find itself up against a fundamental limit to growth: an unavoidable global heating of roughly 3°C dictated solely by the second law of thermodynamics, a biogeophysical effect often ignored when estimating future planetary warming scenarios.