New greenhouse gas with highest global warming impact discovered

GHG emission from energy intensive industriesA new discovery by scientists has revealed a new greenhouse gas that appears to have the highest global-warming impact.

Perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) – discovered by Toronto’s Department of Chemistry research team concluded that the compound is most effective in potential to harm the climate, in a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is used as the baseline for comparison of global warming potential as it is the most common and significant of all anthropogenic emissions of GHG’s.

The concept of global warming potential (GWP) has been developed in order to enable comparison of the ability of different GHGs to trap heat in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is present in a concentration of 0.03% in the atmosphere and is a principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas. For standard use, GHG emissions are measured in one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. It is taken as the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured and therefore has a Global Warming Potential of one (1). Read more here.

 “PFTBA is extremely long-lived in the atmosphere and it has a very high radiative efficiency; the result of this is a very high global warming potential. Calculated over a 100-year timeframe, a single molecule of PFTBA has the equivalent climate impact as 7,100 molecules of CO2,” said researcher Angela Hong.

PFTBA is a completely anthropogenic compound and is not found in nature.

PFTBA has been in use since the mid-20th century for various applications in electrical equipment and is currently used in thermally and chemically stable liquids marketed for use in electronic testing and as heat transfer agents.

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