Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) can be called the missing greenhouse gas: It is a synthetic chemical produced in industrial quantities; it is not included in the Kyoto basket of greenhouse gases or in national reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and there are no observations documenting its atmospheric abundance…With 2008 production equivalent to 67 million metric tons of CO2, NF3 has a potential greenhouse impact larger than that of the industrialized nations’ emissions of PFCs or SF6, or even that of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants.
Yoiks. So there’s at least one greenhouse gas that’s NOT recognized by international global warming protocols, but IS a significant climate concern. Great. Just great. Of course, the gas is used in tiny quantities—but molecule-for-molecule, NF3 is about 17,000 times as potent as CO2 in warming up the atmosphere.
Still, there’s a pretty straightforward solution here: just add nitrogen trifluoride to the list of climate-warming pollutants that are covered under any global warming regulatory system or GHG tax. (Are you listening, WCI? How ’bout you, British Columbia?)
[Hat tip to Brandon.]