The mercury topped 40 degrees in the UK in July 2022. With record-breaking rates continuing
to surpass each other every year, the country was issued its first ever red weather warning for
heat; planes came to a halt as runways started melting, trains stopped running as the tracks
buckled and some schools closed amidst heatstroke fears. Climate change is very real, and it’s

We’ve long been taught that greenhouse gases (GHGs) are the bad guys in climate change.
Technically that is true, but whilst they are a big contributing factor, we’re concerned there’s
another villain that’s been wildly overlooked and underestimated.

In this article, we’ll be exploring why we believe Human Induced Temperature (HIT) or ‘waste
heat’ may be an underestimated cause of current atmospheric warming.

The real offender

We’re talking about the heat released from the combustion of fuels along with other extracted
subterranean fuel and heat sources such as those used for nuclear and geothermal energy, as
well as industrial processes, space heating and cooling, running appliances, and transportation –
aka the waste energy from man.

With energy shortages becoming more focused following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and
the recent announcement of the UK’s future energy policy promoting an expansion of nuclear
power, now’s the time to expose the real offender.

Residual heat or waste from human activity is being poured into the climate system – and it may not be
being accounted for in it’s entirety.

Phil Selwyn, our CEO, has been concerned with this issue for over 30 years. “The effects of
human induced heat in relation to climate change and global warming is a subject matter that’s
close to my heart. I feel that insufficient attention has been attributed to this effect compared to
that of GHGs – so I’m actively seeking to publicise the issue for urgent review given the many
and serious potential implications to current and future national and international energy and
‘carbon’ based policies.”

“Heat currently released globally from burning fuel is around
1/8000th of the solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. Coincidentally, the current
increase of CO2 as a proportion of the atmosphere compared to pre-industrial levels is also
around 1/8000th. One could conclude that a 1/8000th effect both regarding CO2 and HIT could
therefore equally contribute to the effect of global warming.”

By this logic, anthropogenic thermal emissions are just as accountable for global warming as
GHGs. Unfortunately everyone is contributing to waste heat, albeit unconsciously and unwillingly
– so what can we do about it?


We believe there could be three strategic approaches to slowing down further human heat waste entering our atmosphere and contributing to climate

The first, and most vital, is developing effective policies for renewable energies. Solar, wind,
hydro and ocean energies are already in our ecosystem. Not only would switching to 100%
surface renewable energies be most effective, but they have the power to completely stop any
further waste warming as they’re not adding any extra energy in the Earth-atmosphere system –
we’re simply reusing what already naturally exists.

The second is improving the efficiency of our energy conversion. It is estimated that Earth’s
energy conversion efficiency is only about 20% so only one fifth of the consumed global energy
is being converted into new products and useful work – it’s the other wasted four fifths that are
contributing to global warming and breaking the Earth’s energy balance. Heavily investing in
technology and industrial sectors to revolutionise the way we live our lives is arguably the most
difficult but most important task, as it holds huge potential to substantially suppress human

Finally, and this is where you come in, directly reducing your own energy consumption will then
directly reduce the amount of heat you exert into the atmosphere. It seems obvious, but if
everyone made the effort to make individual and social behaviour changes, they’d all add up to
make a big difference and will help to conserve resources.

It’s time the government woke up to the very real and potentially lethal impacts of waste human
heat. Support and implementation of specific policies to tackle the effects of anthropogenic heat
would shift our reliance on fossil fuels to clean, green renewables, whilst investigations into
energy applications would unlock new ways of living more efficiently and therefore reduce our
impact – drastically changing our lives (and the planet!) for the better.

Environmental Sciences and Ecology: Current Research (ESECR) by Francisco Castro Rego,
University of Lisbon, Portugal.