Causes of Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases 4

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

This is the fourth in a short series about greenhouse gases – and what we can do about them as individuals. We have written about carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide previously. This time we examine the causes of fluorinated greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

We Need a Definition: What Does Fluorinated Mean

causes of fluorinated

Natural Fluorapatite: Didier Descouens: CC 4.0

Fluorine is a poisonous pale yellow gas of the halogen series. It is the most reactive of all the elements, causing very severe burns on contact with skin. The gas plays a role in many industrial applications, from nuclear fuel to electrical transformers and circuit breakers.

As consumers, we encounter it in air-conditioning systems, propellants, and solvents. Although production is only one tenth of it was in the 1980’s following widespread prohibition. Approximately 30% of agricultural chemicals contain fluorine, mainly herbicides, fungicides and some crop regulators. On the positive side, fluoride hardens teeth and is a constituent of many medicines.

Natural Causes of Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases

Fluorine is the thirteenth commonest element in Earth’s crust and therefore many minerals contain it. It does not appear to play an essential role in sustaining human, animal, or plant life. Although it could help destroy it through global warming.

causes of fluorinated

The Ozone Cycle: NASA: Public Domain

Fluorine gases entering the atmosphere are highly stable, meaning they only start decomposing when they reach higher altitudes. Therefore, several generations will have to pass before the ban on chlorofluorocarbons and bromofluorocarbons takes effect.

Their presence plays a critical role in ozone layer depletion. Because less ozone in the atmosphere means greater risks of skin cancer, sunburn, and cataracts. Ozone recovery is slow but continuing. The ozone hole will only reach pre-1980 levels by 2075.

The Montreal Protocol that halted ozone layer depletion was one of the most successful international agreements ever. Delays in dealing similarly with the other greenhouse gases could shame our generation forever.


Nitrous Oxide Greenhouse Gas Part 3: Sources

Greenhouse Gases We Cause Part 2: Methane

Preview Image: Tetrafluoromethane Used for Refrigerant


About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

Leave A Reply