Originally published on December 11, 2013
Scientists in Toronto have discovered a new greenhouse gas which is the most radiatively-efficient chemical found to date. It is believed to be 7,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth.
The newly discovered gas, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), has been in use by the electrical industry since the mid-20th century. According to the Voice of America, it is currently used in thermally and chemically stable liquids marketed for use in electronic testings and as heat transfer agents.
Concentrations of PFTBA in the atmosphere are relatively low comparing to carbon dioxide. The current reading is standing at 0.18 parts per trillion in the Toronto area and 400 parts per million for carbon dioxide. PFTBA does not immediately replace carbon dioxide as the main drivers of climate change.
The chemical does not occur naturally. There are no known process that would destroy or remove once it is in the lower atmosphere. It has a very long lifetime, possibly about 500 years and can only be destroyed in the upper atmosphere.
Scientists also warned that the chemical could pose a threat on the climate in the future as it is not being regulated by any type of climate policy.
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