November, 2008 | Posted by: Ry
As the global climate crisis takes on the urgency of our current financial crisis, environmental researchers have given the green movement even more momentum by releasing new greenhouse gas measurement figures that were hitherto impossible to accurately gauge. And the results are not promising.
As found by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, greenhouse gas emission are four times higher than we previously thought.
How could we have not known this before?
Well, the answer is that the greenhouse effect is not just caused by Carbon Dioxide. Gases like nitrous oxide, nitrogen trifluoride and methane are actually more "warming" than Carbon Dioxide. Methane, which is primarily produced by animal agriculture, is twenty times more warming than Carbon Dioxide, while Nitrogen Trifluoride is a whopping 17,000 times more warming.
And here's the kicker - researchers have hitherto been able to accurately measure Nitrogen Trifluoride, thus explaining how off predictions of greenhouse gas levels have been. Prior measurements in 2006 suggested there were 1,200 metric tons of nitrogen trifluoride in the atmosphere.
New analytic techniques, however, have confirmed there are 5,400 tons of the dangerous greenhouse gas in the atmosphere - with this figure growing by 11% each year (based on 30 years of air samples gathered under NASA's Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment).
Researchers are now saying that the increased use of nitrogen trifluoride, which is a colorless and odorless gas used in the production of silicon wafers and in some lasers, certainly warrants regulating it under the Kyoto Protocol.