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New greenhouse gas dwarfs CO2 impact

Posted on Thursday, 12 December, 2013 | Comment icon 18 comments

China's smog is an example of pollution that contributes to global warming. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Ilya Haykinson
A recently discovered gas appears to be 7,000 times more impactful on climate change than CO2.
Perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) is a non-naturally occurring gas that has been produced primarily by the electrical industry since the mid 20th century. According to researchers at the University of Toronto, nothing else comes close to the level of impact that this gas can have on global warming.

"We claim that PFTBA has the highest radiative efficiency of any molecule detected in the atmosphere to date," said study co-author Angela Hong. Over a period of 100 years the gas appears to be more than 7,000 times more potent that carbon dioxide.

Fortunately PFTBA is relatively scarce at the moment with concentrations in the atmosphere measuring approximately 0.18 parts per trillion in comparison to carbon dioxide's 400 parts per million.

"This is a warning to us that this gas could have a very very large impact on climate change - if there were a lot of it," said NASA climatologist Drew Shindell. "Since there is not a lot of it now, we don't have to worry about it at present, but we have to make sure it doesn't grow and become a very large contributor to global warming."

Source: University Herald | Comments (18)

Tags: Climate Change, Global Warming

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Leonardo on 13 December, 2013, 10:35
This is the relevant section of the article, in my opinion. We have had no proper due diligence in many fields of industry as to what is used in the process of production and how it impacts the environment we depend on to survive. Someone invents a process for producing something we deem useful, and we have only considered a part of the process for environmental impact. Governments need to act to ensure all our industrial activity is properly assessed, because only then can we make any claims as to what impact we are having on the planet's eco-environment with any degree of certainty.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Frank Merton on 13 December, 2013, 10:43
Something goes wrong and the immediate outcry is the government needs to pass a law making a regulation that will prevent its repeat. So they pass the law and several dozen more forms are developed for everyone to fill out and one of two things happens. Either people find ways around the law or people stop developing new things. To an extent we have to hold people who put dangerous things out there responsible for the consequences, but trying to regulate it a priori does more harm than good. A certain level of testing is appropriate, but there is no way to test for every negative thing tha... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Leonardo on 13 December, 2013, 10:47
I agree, but that does not mean we should not be more diligent. We are not ignorant, we just choose to be because it is expensive (and time-consuming) to be wise. We know there is a possibility we could negatively impact our environment to the extent it can no longer support the level of society we currently enjoy. We should take this possibility seriously and not "brush things under the carpet" in the hope they are not detrimental.
Comment icon #12 Posted by bassai26 on 13 December, 2013, 15:51
Sadly those gases will linger in our atmosphere for vast amount of time and we cannot easily reverse whats already done. The thing is we still have a chance why not change our ways to more environment friendly, its not that easy but we can make it one step at a time.
Comment icon #13 Posted by ealdwita on 13 December, 2013, 16:17
Oh, here we go again! Just when global warming has been exposed for the scam that it is, along come the grant-dependant mob with another scary death-gas that'll cause all life on 'Planet Earth' to curl up and go crispy at the edges! Open your wallets and purses, everybody.
Comment icon #14 Posted by ShortyStuff on 13 December, 2013, 19:52
The only global warming we have is coming from the hot air emitted by the global warming disciples, including the author of this article.
Comment icon #15 Posted by schizoid78 on 14 December, 2013, 3:28
7000 times, and nobody realize that before? Oh, by the way, here in Canada, we are freezing at -20 celsius or less for a ******* week, and winter has not even begun. **** why Hydro-Quebec is producing clean electricity? WE NEED Perfluorotributylamine, damn it
Comment icon #16 Posted by Frank Merton on 14 December, 2013, 4:20
In spite of continuing warnings from all the respectable scientists, the political opposition to doing anything about greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to prevent anything meaningful from being done and give the politicians cover for their obstructionism. Well time will tell. I'm seventy years old and so will probably not live long enough to suffer the consequences. I feel sorry for younger people. I can only hope that technologies will come along to rescue humanity from its blind folly.
Comment icon #17 Posted by WillSoMysterious on 14 December, 2013, 23:49
Initially I thought this story was about a greenhouse dwelling dwarf made of gas that had an impact on CO2. I was sadly mistaken. If anyone knows of such dwarf, please let me know about him or her, it will be appreciated.
Comment icon #18 Posted by regeneratia on 18 December, 2013, 0:02
DOH! LOL. Global warming also consists of global cooling. So they had to change the name to climate change. Now they find a different gas, because we all know the science behind CO2 being a "bad guy" is seriously inadequate. What will they think of next, just to keep us in fear and keep us from burning our leaves off, or owning a wood-burning stove or anything that doesn't put money into energy companies? I see it has the chemical "fluoro" in it. Does that mean we can all stop fluoridating the tap water or stop taking those antidepressants with "fluoro&quo... [More]

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