Sunday, September 19, 2010

Greenhouse gas emissions rising in Scotland

When talking about greenhouse gases that significantly contribute to climate change most people only refer to carbon dioxide (CO2) but there are plenty of other greenhouse gases, many of which are much more powerful than CO2. World’s most potent greenhouse gas is sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and scientists have calculated that this gas is around 24,000 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, a huge concern for a further strengthening of the climate change impact.

In the last ten years Scottish SF6 emissions have increased dramatically, and according to the latest UK government data Scotland’s production of SF6 has increased by two-thirds since 1995. In fact in 2008 alone SF6 contributed seven times more to warming effect than carbon dioxide, and this is the major reason for concern.

15,000 tonnes of SF6 that Scotland produced in 2008 equals to 360 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. SF6 can be found in many different industrial products such as semiconductors used in electricity.

SF6 is not the only powerful greenhouse gas that experienced massive increase in Scotland in the last few decades as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), have also experienced massive increases since 1995. Since the 1995 Scottish emissions of HFCs have increased by staggering 610%, and HFC's are 11,000 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Huge rise of HFC's emissions is not only trend in Scotland but also in Wales and Northern Ireland, only England showed decrease in HFC's emissions in the last couple of years.

It looks like Britain will not only have to focus on reducing the carbon emissions but also on reducing SF6 and HFC's levels as these greenhouse gases are much more harmful compared to CO2.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to understand where some of these figures come from: the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory says SF6 emissions in 2008 had risen by 66% from 1995 BUT were the equivalent of just 51,200 tonnes of CO2, or just 1% of total GHG emissions (after conversion to CO2 equivalents). See

    So the claim that SF6 emissions outweigh CO2 emissions in GWP is plain wrong.