New greenhouse gases gain foothold across industry

Electricity utilities have been highlighted as a potentially significant but hitherto overlooked source of the most potent known greenhouse gas, sulphur hexafluoride. According to a report by the US World Resources Institute (WR1), the gas, which has a global warming potential 25,000 times higher than carbon dioxide, is one of a family enjoying increasing application in several industrial sectors.

The WRI report draws attention to a group of fully fluorinated compounds which have powerful "greenhouse" properties and because of their stability remain in the atmosphere thousands of years longer than other greenhouse gases.1Their global warming characteristics are summarised in the table , which takes information calculated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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