US Emissions of Most Potent Greenhouse Gas 56% Higher Than Estimates

"Electric utilities are likely responsible for the nation’s higher than expected emissions of sulfur hexafluoride, a greenhouse gas 25,000 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide."

"While emissions of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), the world’s most potent greenhouse gas, have fallen sharply in the U.S. in recent decades, actual emissions are significantly higher than the official government estimates, a new study concludes.

Across the United States, 390 metric tons of SF6 were emitted into the atmosphere in 2018, the most recent year for which data are available, according to a new study resulting from a joint initiative between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. The study, designed to better quantify SF6 emissions in the U.S., was published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.  

SF6, a man-made gas used by electric utilities to quickly interrupt the flow of electricity in high voltage circuit breakers, is also the most potent greenhouse gas ever studied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  The gas is 25,200 times more effective at warming the planet than carbon dioxide, making even small releases of SF6 cause for concern."

Phil McKenna reports for Inside Climate News January 31, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 02/01/2023