Research done at Jungfraujoch, high in the Alps, discovered the discrepancy. Photo: Empa
Most TreeHugger readers will probably correctly cite carbon dioxide and methane as greenhouse gases, but less will cite trifluoromethane (HFC-23) as being a concern. At 15,000 times the global warming potential as CO2 and having a half-life of 270 years in the atmosphere, it probably should be--indeed reductions in it are mandated by the Kyoto Protocol and significant reductions have been made.
But, as new research in Geophysical Research Letters shows, some nations are under-reporting how much HFC-23 they are still emitting. In some cases 20 times more is emitted than officially admitted.
Analysis by the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials and Technology shows that though Italy says it has been HFC-23 free since the mid 1990s, that simply isn't the case, with the CO2 equivalent of 270,000-630,000 tons being emitted annually--as much as a city of 75,000 people.
The United Kingdom and the Netherlands were also cited as under-reporting HFC-23 emissions, while when independently measured France's and Germany's emissions were within the range officially reported.
More on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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Proposal to Phase Out Super-Powerful Greenhouse Gases Would Slow Warming by 10 Years