Current Climate Impact of Heating From Energy Usage



Present-day waste heat production as a result of energy use is a climate forcing that has not drawn much attention, although Chaisson [2008] recently discussed its potential future climate impact. Current global primary energy consumption amounts to 15.5 tera watts (U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) base year 2005; see Table 1). The global average primary energy consumption (0.03 watts per square meter) is relatively small compared with other anthropogenic radiative forcings, as summarized in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [2007] report. Nevertheless, despite its relatively small magnitude, waste heat may have a considerable impact on local surface temperature measurements, as outlined below.