Flat-Screen TVs Pose Major Climate Risk

Potent greenhouse gas means popular appliances aren't very Earth-friendly
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 12:03 PM CDT
A man vacuum-cleans the carpet in front of different flat screens before the official opening of the consumer electronics fair 'IFA 2007' on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007 in Berlin, Germany.    (AP Photo/Miguel Villagran)
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(Newser) – Soaring demand for flat-screen TVs could accelerate global warming faster than coal-fired power stations, the Guardian reports. A leading environmental scientist warns that a gas used in their manufacture and not controlled in the Kyoto treaty—as other greenhouse gases are—is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is being made in escalating amounts.

Production of nitrogen trifluoride is "exploding," says Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California, Irvine, and no one knows how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry. (Read more global warming stories.)