Watching television may be bad for the kids; making televisions, it seems, may be bad for the climate. To produce flatpanel displays, manufacturers rely on nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a potent greenhouse gas that was not covered by the emissions-regulating Kyoto Protocol when it was drafted in 1997, because so little of it was used then. Now exploding sales of flat-panel TVs and other digital devices, coupled with incomplete recapture of the chemical during manufacture, could spell trouble, warn Michael J. Prather and Juno Hsu, both at the University of California, Irvine. They advocate further study to document the pre sence of atmospheric NF3.
Atmospheric lifetime of NF3: 550 years
Greenhouse potency factor (global warming potential), as compared with carbon dioxide, of:
Estimated number of tons of NF3 to be produced in 2008: 4,000
Equivalent amount of CO2, in tons: 67 million
Percent of NF<sub>3</sub> not recaptured during manufacturing: 2 to 3
CO2 emissions in 2005, in tons: 15,128 million
SOURCE: Geophysical Research Letters, June 26, 2008