Green News

Flat Screen TVs May Be Damaging the Environment

May of us have recently purchased a new HD flat screen TV, as our old CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs are being fazed out. Did you realize, however, that this increase in demand for flat screen TVs has been making an impact on global warming? 

The manufacturing of flat screen TVs uses a greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride. Due to the popularity of these TVs, the annual production of the gas has risen to about 4,000 tonnes. Nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, yet at this time it is not certain how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry.


Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California, Irvine has been studying the issue. Prather's research reveals that "production of the gas, which remains in the atmosphere for 550 years, is "exploding" and is expected to double by next year. Unlike common greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), emissions of the gas are not restricted by the Kyoto protocol or similar agreements". 

There is hopefully some action being taken to curb these emissions. According to Reuters, more than 190 nations have recently "agreed to work out a broad new pact to succeed Kyoto". 

"I think it's a good idea" to add new gases to a group of six already capped by the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol for slowing global warming, Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters.

"It makes sense to address all gases that lead to climate change," he said on the sidelines of the August 21-27 talks in Ghana meant to help work out details of a new treaty to combat global warming due to be agreed at the end of 2009.


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