Monday, December 11, 2017

Heat vs Emissions

The earth receives energy from the sun. The energy not reflected away is stored, or converted to heat and sent back out. There is a top limit to how fast energy can be sent back out -- a fixed amount based on area of the surface and the rate of heat transfer.

Carbon in the atmosphere reduces the amount reflected, so more energy has to be stored or sent back out.

Even if humans add no carbon to the blanket, the earth will still get warmer if animal life turns energy into heat faster than the rate of sending out.

If humans can reduce carbon in the atmosphere, more energy will be reflected instead of trapped. But reducing emissions is not exactly the same as reducing carbon. To reduce carbon, emissions must be negative. Negative means that more carbon must be taken out than added. Reducing emissions to any rate greater than or equal to zero does not reduce trapping. And if the process of reducing those emissions requires increased use of energy, that energy generates heat which must be subtracted from the supposed benefits of reducing trapping.