BBC: Green Energy Boom Forcing Increased Production of a Potent Greenhouse Gas

Sulfur Hexafluoride, a potent Greenhouse Gas

Guest chuckle by Eric Worrall

The BBC claims the potent greenhouse gas sulfur hexafluoride leaking from EU wind turbines and other renewable electricity infrastructure components produces the global warming equivalent of putting an extra million new cars on the road.

Climate change: Electrical industry’s ‘dirty secret’ boosts warming
By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent

It’s the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, and emissions have risen rapidly in recent years, the BBC has learned. 

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents. 

But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road. 

Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom.

Cheap and non-flammable, SF6 is a colourless, odourless, synthetic gas. It makes a hugely effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations. 

It is widely used across the industry, from large power stations to wind turbines to electrical sub-stations in towns and cities. It prevents electrical accidents and fires.

However, the significant downside to using the gas is that it has the highest global warming potential of any known substance. It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Read more:

Sulfur Hexafluoride also contributes to the halon load allegedly destroying our ozone layer.

This is getting funny – how many ways can renewables offend the beliefs of greens before they finally lose patience with their green energy “revolution”?

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September 13, 2019 10:11 pm

I’ll bet if one went through Lange’s Handbook of Chemistry, there could be hundreds — maybe even thousands of gasses — that would qualify as being X times more green-house gassy than CO2.

It’s time we ban all the elements that make up such gasses!

steven mosher
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 14, 2019 12:30 am

the database is called hitran

Mark Broderick
Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 3:19 am

“HITRAN” – “HITRAN is an acronym for high-resolution transmission molecular absorption database. HITRAN is a compilation of spectroscopic parameters that a variety of computer codes use to predict and simulate the transmission and emission of light in the atmosphere.”

michael hart
Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 11:04 am

Hitran’s just a database of those compounds arbitrarily decided as being worth examining for such properties. noaaprogrammer was making a different point about the much wider universe of chemical compounds.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 3:26 pm

He did not say, nor mean, HITRAN. He specifically said “Lange’s Handbook of Chemistry.” Note that Chapter 7 deals with spectroscopy.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 14, 2019 8:33 am

SF6 is the insulating gas used in linear accelerators. I’m sure cancer patients won’t be pleased, when their radiation treatments are canceled, because of a SF6 ban.

Reply to  Cam_S
September 14, 2019 9:35 am

Most of the accelerators used in the Medical industry (Nuclear Medicine) are Cyclotrons. I have been trained on both the GE PETtrace 800 and the CTI Eclipse RDS as a maintenance engineer and operated them for about 12 years and not once did we ever use SF6 for anything. We converted heavy water (18-O) to 18-F.

Even the Proton therapy machines use Cyclotrons, IBA machines. Perhaps the beam lines to steer the protons once they are produced accelerated and, then extracted from the cyclotrons or LINAC. However, I am having a hard seeing why you would introduce a gas into an accelerating proton’s path; when the more appropriate thing to do is maintain high vacuum (<1.0×10^-5 torr or lower). Hell the cross-section alone of the medical LINAC's are nearly a third of Cyclotrons; woefully inefficient and highly activated due to the aforementioned cross-section.

Reply to  JEHILL
September 14, 2019 3:45 pm

In the cancer clinic I am thinking of, the cyclotron is Siemens, the linear accelerators are Varian. All use SF6 as a high voltage insulator, and the beam lines are vacuum.

Reply to  Cam_S
September 14, 2019 4:57 pm

Siemens bought CTI about 14-15 years ago. I worked for Siemens, at the Cyclotron factory in Knoxville, TN and, every single cyclotron whether it be the 112(old, obsolete and very hard to find parts) or the Eclipse RDS ( also known as the 111) has never used SF6. I was an onsite and field Engineer, Corporate and Field Trainer for Siemens. The only operating gases that these machines use are: compressed air, Hydrogen, Argon and, Nitrogen. F2 could used as a target material but I never installed a single F2 system; I only had requests to remove them.

If memory serves only Hitachi and Varian Medical Systems make the medical style LINACs. They are output capped to around ~9MeV. Those are technically called drift tubes to both accelerate and steer the charged particle, generally H-, to the targetry or extraction system. Yes, if these drift tubes (or beamlines) are using SF6 as an insulating dielectric on the electrostatic plates and gets banned it would be problematic.

Reply to  Cam_S
September 16, 2019 8:24 am

I checked with the radiation service techs, this morning (Sep 16/19). I was wrong. The cyclotron does not use SF6. But the linear accelerators do use SF6.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Cam_S
September 14, 2019 6:19 pm

It is also used to help maintain eyeball shape after retinal surgery.

Charles Higley
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 14, 2019 1:27 pm

Since “greenhouse gases” were creative to serve a narrative, who cares about these gases. Properly called radiative gases, water vapor and CO2 cannot warm the Earth’s surface as the surface is always hotter than the -17°C of the upper troposphere which is where they claim the downwelling IR is warming the climate.

For that matter, SF6 has only one major and narrow absorption peak, which is equivalent to an object at -1°C. Yeah, that will warm us big time. This is not a world changer in any way, particularly with the low concentrations involved.

Reply to  Charles Higley
September 14, 2019 4:58 pm

“This is not a world changer in any way, particularly with the low concentrations involved.”

The weight of the evidence suggests that statement is probably also true about CO2.

Reply to  Charles Higley
September 15, 2019 12:05 pm

don’t read the “-17°C” as an impediment, read it as +256.5°K

remember that a photon is a photon and doesn’t care what it’s “temperature” is, it has none – it is a unit of energy that will stick to anything that can absorb it… so if 3 million photons are released from a -17C object and strike a +2C object that can absorb them, that +2C object gets warmer unless they’re of opposing phase (like used in laser cooling to absolute zero)

September 13, 2019 10:22 pm

Thank you for posting this, I read it yesterday on the bbc website… Personally I like how the bbc have reported this, they told the truth, and if it hurts the scammers and liers in the “world is going to end” party then I hope the BBC constantly writes truth stories… Its about time somebody started telling the truth on a national level.

John V. Wright
Reply to  Sunny
September 13, 2019 11:09 pm

However, Sunny, don’t forget that when it comes to global warming it is official BBC editorial policy NOT to give balancing coverage to sceptical views. It decided long ago that, despite no evidence that manmade CO2 will lead to catastrophic global warming, that the issue was so serious that they would actively promote the warmist agenda.

And do they ever. It has become their key corporate message, evident every day in their news and current affairs output, radio drama, wildlife programming and children’s shows. On serious news programmes they regularly have a warmist scientist talking climate crisis bollocks with no balancing sceptical view. OR, they deliberately put up a weak performer, usually an being politician. They NEVER have anyone at the top of their game like Christopher Monckton, or Richard Lindzen or, indeed, Anthony.

BBC coverage of the global warming debate is an affront to professional journalism.

Reply to  John V. Wright
September 14, 2019 5:20 am

all that you siad is correct
but I AM loving this and the fact they actually had the guts to publish it, knowing their bias and evasions
absolutely made my evening reading this;-))

Brenda Donovan
Reply to  ozspeaksup
September 14, 2019 6:11 am

I agree – I was very surprised to read this on BBC considering their editorial bent. Maybe, just maybe, some mainstream media will actually start publishing something else besides alarmist hysteria.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  ozspeaksup
September 14, 2019 6:44 am

Have they recognized that maybe, just maybe the jig is up as it pertains to wind and solar?

Reply to  Jim Gorman
September 15, 2019 1:48 pm

“Have they recognized that maybe, just maybe the jig is up as it pertains to wind and solar?”

No. They are that scientifically that illiterate. Notice how they leave out that it is also used in solar panel production.

State these two facts to them:

1) 2+2=4

2) The Earth rotates in such a way to have the sun, a star, appear to travel east to west in the sky.

Ask them which of the two facts is immutable.

Reply to  Sunny
September 14, 2019 9:08 am

Don’t kid yourself, the article isn’t meant to attack the AGW movement or the green industry. It is helping to lay the foundation that all energy is bad, there are too many people on the earth, and we should just all curl up and die from cold and hunger in our house-caves.

I mean really, does anyone honestly think that the BBC has seen the error of their ways and will begin truthfully reporting on green energy. Really??

Reply to  Frenchie77
September 15, 2019 8:08 am

I’d tend to agree, its merely a waystation on the journey towards full Pol Pot.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Sunny
September 15, 2019 4:21 am

What truth did they tell? The fact that UK SF6 emissions have been in decline wasn’t mentioned, and neither was the fact that the CO2e emissions of SF6 amount to about 0.1% of the UK total. I’d call it propaganda, designed to confuse the innumerate and those who don’t bother to check the wider facts.

Jeff Briggs
September 13, 2019 10:24 pm

The answer to question is never, because it isn’t about the environment, it is about control. When, in a few years, the seas have not risen, the ice caps have not melted, and the warming if any is still minuscule, the Greenies will emerge from their clown car claiming that they were right and all they did stopped a disaster.

We have to stop saying they are wrong. We have to start saying they are liars.

steven mosher
Reply to  Jeff Briggs
September 14, 2019 12:31 am

thats the angry old man plan.

mike the morlock
Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 12:50 am

steven mosher September 14, 2019 at 12:31 am

thats the angry old man plan.

You’re response is an angry old man plan.

Have you come to this?


Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 2:35 am

It should make people angry, young and old, that most of the data you work with are fake, while pretending they’re not – “Look, a squirrel!” Liars is the absolute best term to use for consensus climate scientists. At a minimum they’re lying to themselves.

Reply to  icisil
September 17, 2019 3:28 am

IT IS ALLL about Globalist CONTROL, with Climate being a Motivating Fear as well as a TOOL for Manipulation of the NWO Serfdom.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 4:06 am

How is it old people are demonised now? “Elders” were once respected in societies. At least Mosher will be an old man, one day, angry or otherwise but still old to see “climate predictions” be falsified.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Patrick MJD
September 14, 2019 5:15 am

Maybe their enemy is wisdom which correlates with age.

Cliff Hilton
Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
September 15, 2019 10:43 am

@Farmer Ch E retired

…wisdom = knowledge+understanding put to action
…lack of wisdom = knowledge+understand without action (or anyone of the other combinations)

Age may be a factor. I know a bunch of stupid old men.

Smart Rock
Reply to  steven mosher
September 14, 2019 12:09 pm

thats the angry old man plan

And just what’s wrong with that, Steven, O master of the terse and the cryptic?

The day I stop being an angry old man (with a PhD in geology and a not-too-bad grasp of the scientific method) will be the day I start looking at the grass from the other side.

Or maybe it will be the day when the CAGW/GND comes to power in one of the industrialized democracies and the people realise they have been conned.

Reply to  steven mosher
September 15, 2019 5:55 am

Is that the new missive? Global warming, climate change, climate emergency, climate catastrophe and now angry old man plan? What a joke, much like the people who coin these phrases.

Stephan Fuelling
September 13, 2019 10:28 pm

We used sulphur hexafluoride as an insulating gas in our 2MV Van de Graaff accelerator. Often we had to open it for repairs. We had a recycling system and pumped the pressure vessel down as much as possible. But some gas would vent into the accelerator room when we opened the vessel. It has good high voltage insulating properties, I was unaware about its greenhouse properties. That was 25 years ago.

Reply to  Stephan Fuelling
September 13, 2019 11:57 pm

The wiki article says that sulphur hexafluoride can be used to avoid using PCBs. So, for some applications we could go back to PCBs.

Is a Van de Graaff accelerator the same as what I would call a Van de Graaff generator? In that case, was the sulphur hexafluoride being used to protect moving machinery? In that case you couldn’t use oil and you’re stuck with some kind of gas.

Did you have a protocol for what to do if there was a leak?

The wiki article says that sulphur hexafluoride is much denser than air. That implies that it couldn’t reach the ozone layer. If it’s that heavy it might be that a leak would result in a layer of sulphur hexafluoride that didn’t reach more than a couple of feet above the floor. Do you recall if the manual said anything about that?

What leads me to the above speculation regarding the behavior of the very dense sulphur hexafluoride? If you’re a plumber working in a ditch, you have to be aware that the denser-than-air propane for your torch will collect in the trench rather than just floating away. That makes the plumber’s trick of freezing the water in a pipe, by playing the unlit torch on it, quite dangerous.

Reply to  commieBob
September 16, 2019 3:02 pm

In the context of gases, they are *all* miscible and thus diffusion will happen. The kinetic energy in any gas is enough to propel it out of the Earth-Moon system at current temperatures and pressures. It’ll be faster for faster moving gases (lighter ones for a specified kinetic energy) than it will be for slower moving ones, but given time and any kinetic energy over zero, the gas will diffuse and eventually reach TOA. Afterall, molecular oxygen is ‘heaver’ than air, yet gravitational fractionation doesn’t happen. Any spot with a relatively high concentration, unimpeded, will see equalization from diffusion (see Dalton and Dalton’s law); barring any other chemical reaction removing it. Your ditch qualifies as an impediment.

Reply to  Stephan Fuelling
September 14, 2019 8:57 am

I worked at an Emperor class 10 MeV Van de Graaff, some fifty years ago. Inside the accelerator housing we used a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen; the sulfur hexafluoride was confined to power supplies in the basement.

Reply to  Stephan Fuelling
September 14, 2019 9:04 am

I worked at an Emperor class 10 MV Van de Graaff, some fifty years ago. Inside the accelerator housing we used a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen; the sulfur hexafluoride was confined to power supplies in the basement.

Steve Case
September 13, 2019 10:29 pm

Will some one please put the insane Global Warming Potenial GWP numbers into a well deserved grave? They are bogus for methane and everything else. The person who came up with this bullshit must be laughing himself silly after all this time to see his creation grow wings and continue to fly.

Lance Wallace
September 13, 2019 10:43 pm

I used SF6 with electron capture detectors for four years in my house to measure the air exchange rate. SF6 has unique properties that make it better than any other gas for measuring air exchange, volumes of homes, etc. For one thing, it doesn’t react with any other gas, being about the most tightly bound molecule known. Also, being synthetic, there is never any measurable outdoor level to interfere with the measurements.

CO and CO2 are sometimes used, but they have nonzero outdoor levels, and people breathe out both at all times, so one never knows how big these influences are.

However, the great run with SF6 for this purpose got stopped by the worry that perhaps passing through a gas flame on a stove would cause it break up into products including HF a very nasty toxic gas. I still don’t know how likely this is, but the precautionary principle took over and no University will support using it in research in people’s homes these days.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Lance Wallace
September 14, 2019 1:23 pm

SF6 is the Teflon of gases for its lack of activity. It has an extraordinarily high dielectric constant, which is why it is used in high voltage switches and breakers to quench the arc when they open a circuit.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
September 14, 2019 10:25 pm

The global warming potential is all madeup IPCC bullshit based on their estimate of how long they think that the gas is resident in the atmosphere. Needless to say they vastly overestimate the residence time and they neglect the actual spectrographic absorption peak of each gas, so the GWP number is Alice in Wonderland stuff.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
September 15, 2019 4:46 am

SF6 has a sharp absorption peak at ~10.5 microns and a much less intense one at ~16.4 microns. Otherwise, essentially nothing at IR wavelengths.

Ian Magness
September 13, 2019 10:51 pm

Great scare story but I don’t think we need to panic too much just yet – the atmospheric concentration appears to be around 9 parts per trillion (that’s 9 out of 1,000,000,000,000) and is only rising by the odd part per trillion per decade. Colour me naive but I’m not trashing my pension find and going wild (in the knowledge that I may as well as we won’t be around for many years) for now at least.

September 13, 2019 11:17 pm

The stuff used to be used as the gas in between, in double glazed windows. A great thermal insulator and being heavy, a sound deadened too.

Phillip Bratby
September 13, 2019 11:20 pm

“It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2)”

23,500 x 0 = 0

Greg Cavanagh
September 13, 2019 11:45 pm

“…were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road. ” So the number of large town and suburb then? Sure sounds scary.

“Levels are rising as an unintended consequence of the green energy boom.” Oh deary me; but please answer the “so what?” question while your at it.

Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
September 14, 2019 1:52 pm

According to the UN Agenda 2030’s “sustainable cities” plan, there won’t be any cars on the road. The only cars we’ll see will belong to the elite globalists who banned us from owning them! The BBC didn’t change their global warming stripes. They posted this article to feed INTO the global warming scare.

September 13, 2019 11:52 pm

“It’s the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity,”
Who writes that sort of drivel.

Reply to  Phaedo
September 14, 2019 1:47 am

Phaedo: “Who writes that sort of drivel.”

It used to be teenage girls passing notes in the hallway between classes. Now they teach it in Jurinalism (Swedish pronunciation) School; Purple Prose 101.

Barry White
September 13, 2019 11:54 pm

Doesn’t matter anyway, as global warming is caused by the sun/sunspots/cosmic Rays and clouds. It is a natural cycle and nothing can be done about it. The warming cycles of the last 2000 years are the confirming evidence.

laura rose
Reply to  Barry White
September 14, 2019 7:13 am

How can it possibly be bad to take care of our planet? Let’s leave it in the best possible shape for future generations. Maybe we could change to a more environmentally stable insulating material? Or, shall we just give up? I love our beautiful planet and would keep her healthy if possible. Lets do what we can to be good stewards of our world. How is that bad?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  laura rose
September 14, 2019 1:29 pm

You must be in extraordinary shape with all the exercise you get from jumping to conclusions and hopping aboard bandwagons. How about instead, you take a deep breath and contemplate the facts before running about in a panic. The total amount of SF6 in the air is the equivalent of adding about 0.2ppm of additional CO2 to the atmosphere, ONCE, where the year-over-year change now runs about 2.0ppm. Feel better now?

Reginald Vernon Reynolds
Reply to  laura rose
September 14, 2019 1:51 pm

We could accomplish more and make the planet cleaner and healthier if the scientists, politicians and media would stop lying to us and wasting countless billions on wind turbines and solar panels.

Reply to  laura rose
September 15, 2019 7:06 am

If you mean we should ban wind turbines then I agree with you.

Patrick MJD
September 13, 2019 11:59 pm

I think the most “dangerous” thing about SF6 is that if you inhale it it makes your voice sound lower than usual. As for GWP yeah, not so much. But the numbers are even more scary than CO2 (413ppm/v) and CH4 (1.8ppm/v) now that people are seeing right past the scam

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
Reply to  Patrick MJD
September 14, 2019 4:19 pm

Mythbusters did a bit on sulfur hexafluoride and the voice change. It’s the opposite of the effect of helium, which has a very small atomic weight.

The gas is biologically inert, and is injected into the bloodstream for certain diagnostics. But it’s not entirely inert. It reacts furiously with lithium metal, with a flame temperature of 7,000 F. It’s used in the Mk 50 torpedo to generate steam for propulsion. The interesting thing is that the products of combustion are more dense than the reactants, so no gas trail is left behind the fish.

September 14, 2019 12:25 am

NF3 is used for solar panel manufacturing and is much worse than SF6.

Aynsley Kellow
Reply to  Kozlowski
September 14, 2019 5:58 pm

Indeed, one analysis of the life cycle impact of solar panels found them worse than gas of coal under northern European conditions of insolation, as NF3 and SF6 are used in manufacture – but most of them are made in China. Source:
Ferroni, Ferrucio (2014) “Solarstrom in Deutschland: ‘Klimakiller’ Nummer 1!” (“Solar power in Germany: ‘Climate killer’ number 1!”) Europäisches Institut für Klima & Energie 24 March.

September 14, 2019 12:27 am

I did wonder when I saw this story. With methane at a couple of parts per million, how much

“Sulfur hexafluoride. Its mixing ratio in the atmosphere is lower than that of CO2 (about 4 parts per trillion ppt in 1990 versus 365 ppm of carbon dioxide), its contribution to global warming is accordingly low. Note: The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article ” Sulfur hexafluoride “, which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.”

” 4 parts per trillion”

Not overly worried then.

September 14, 2019 12:45 am

There was a producer of electric turbines which do not use SF6 being quoted in that report. I wonder whether it was him who drew the Beeb’s attention to the issue. He stands to clean up if the EU decide to ban the stuff.

Steve Borodin
September 14, 2019 12:51 am

As usual the BBC illiterates have got hold of as few facts and spun them into a scare story to match their delusional political beliefs. It is what they do.

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 14, 2019 1:20 am

It’s the Ozone scare all over again. At least a try to. But look at the absorption spectrum of the stuff and understand some physics and you know that it is utter bunkum. The stuff has no effect on the planet’s energy balance whatsoever.

Randy Wester
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 14, 2019 8:19 am

“It’s the Ozone scare all over again.”

Except the ozone / cfc thing was becoming an actual problem.

And the use of this compound seems somewhat ubiquitous, this article is like noticing that copper can be toxic and it’s used in wind generators.

September 14, 2019 1:47 am

These kinds of articles seem to come via the greenmail corps from those who have just patented a new chemical which they want to force on industry. Greenmail co-operate because it’s another big campaign to bring in the gullible public to fund them. And no doubt those attempting to legislate away the old products give a handsome sum to the greenmail corps for their campaign through anoymous intermediaries.

September 14, 2019 2:12 am

Had to happen.
Failed aristocrat Don Quixote de la Mancha of BBC, is going after windmills.

It would be funny, except the tale will be told around candles during the next windy blackout.

September 14, 2019 2:13 am

But if we can show that their favourite CO2, is eve en more of a minor
player, then that must help us.

We should say that if they are right, the something must be done. If this
stuff is so widely used then they cannot do very much about it, then their
vision of slowly closing down the economies of the Western countries will
be in a mess.

Host by their own Petard I think.


David Stone
September 14, 2019 2:18 am

Sulphur hexaflouride is used in some very high voltage equipment because it is extremely unreactive even at extreme temperatures and has a very high breakdown voltage (excellent insulator) all because of its un-reactivity. It is thus not poisonous and I very much doubt that this supposed “greenhouse gas” value is correct because the structure is inherently extremely stiff, and therefore unable to change with small temperature changes. It does not break down with sunlight UV, and so will not promote ozone production. This BBC piece is extremely uninformed as usual!

September 14, 2019 2:21 am

Hahaha! Had to kindof laugh last night when I heard this on beeb news…….’you couldn’t make it up’ – about gases you’ve never heard of. Am thinking that the green bleebie see has found REVERSE Gear on all this climate rubbish without using the clutch, and so throwing a spanner in the works . when the green blox has broken up / burst / disintegrated, they can walk away and say it wasn’t me ( Echoes of ‘pardon me, for being so rude, it was not me, it was my food’ ).

William Haas
September 14, 2019 3:43 am

We do not need to worry about this because the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.

Coeur de Lion
September 14, 2019 4:25 am

As we all know, BBC bias springs from Roger Harrabin’s conspiracy of January 2006 when our regressive taxpayer funded public institution was betrayed by Harrabin and sold its soul and reputation to Greenpeace et al. See Andrew Montford The Propaganda Bureau for the whole disgraceful story

Craig from Oz
September 14, 2019 4:39 am

If the BBC is calling you out for not being Greta enough then you really know your social credit is in big trouble.

Now if I was a nice person I would be offering compassionate sympathy for all those who have invested their time, reputation and our money into the Wind Industry and are now, bit by bit, having their names dragged through the ethically sourced mud.

But… yeah… I am not a nice person 😛

Dennis G Sandberg
September 14, 2019 5:03 am

Barry, …Global warming caused by the sun/sunspot/cosmic rays. Nice to see your comment. Last night I finished reading, “The Chilling Stars”. by Henrik Svensmark, reporting the same thing. Pretty convincing stuff, but cosmic rays aren’t taxable and can’t be blamed on “fossil fuels”. The Grantologist’s and other Fraudster’s need to stick with their CO2 as the climate control knob.

Theo Richel
September 14, 2019 5:05 am

Much more interesting than the real properties of Sf6 is the green perception of them . If an industry replaces a supposedly dangerous chemical (PCB) with a substance that is thousands of times more warming than CO2 and that in a time when everybody is supposed to be aware of the gh effect..that seems a much stronger case than the Exxon-knew scam.

Nick Schroeder
September 14, 2019 6:02 am

“It is 23,500 times more warming than carbon dioxide (CO2).”

And – what is zero times 23,500?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
September 15, 2019 5:07 am

Most of that estimate comes from projected long residency time in the atmosphere, estimated at 3,200 years. Given that it has two extremely narrow absorption peaks in the infrared its contribution in a mixed atmosphere with other IR absorbers is likely overstated.

Kevin kilty
September 14, 2019 7:04 am

Here’s its infrared spectrum. Looks like a double peak around 11 micrometers wavelength and a lesser peak at 18 um or so.

molecular weight of 146.55. It will keep irrigation ditches warm.

Kevin kilty
September 14, 2019 7:12 am
September 14, 2019 7:21 am

In my last career as a chemist, I analyzed samples with a mass spectrometer using negative-chemical ionization. I used SF6 to check for vacuum leaks, because it could not detect oxygen in air in that mode. I worked for the US government, and had to report every time I ordered some more of the stuff, since it is a potent greenhouse gas. I’d get it in a small lecture cylinder (a metal cylinder about 6 inches long). I used very small amounts of the stuff —

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  littlepeaks
September 14, 2019 3:37 pm

Sin is still sin, even if it is only 6 inches long! 🙂

Reply to  littlepeaks
September 17, 2019 12:07 pm

Has many uses including medical such as to cool your eye during surgery.

Jean Parisot
September 14, 2019 7:53 am

Given its nice spectral peaks, I’ve released so much SF6 as a tracer gas over the years the green weenies would cry if they knew.

September 14, 2019 8:12 am

SF6 has been regulated by the USEPA since ~2009 (subpart W). Commonly used in gas insulated switches which replace oil circuit breakers. The gas does not conduct electrical current.

Pretty easy to image with certain cooled IR cameras. Smallest leak found by an electric utility was less than 100 grams per year.

Don Holland
September 14, 2019 10:32 am

I recall some years ago someone was thinking of dumping large amounts of SF6 in the Martian atmosphere to try to warm the planet. I am somewhat surprised that there is so little SF6 on earth. One would think it would form in places like Iceland where a lot of flourine is ejected.

Rod Evans
September 14, 2019 10:35 am

We just need to bring a sense of balance into play here. It is the BBC reporting this guff, so do what you should normally do when the BBC says something,…just ignore it. That is what most sane and sensible observers do with BBC reports.

September 14, 2019 10:43 am

They seem to have to forgotten to mention that it is also part of the waste stream of solar panel production.

Andy Pattullo
September 14, 2019 11:14 am

Very clever and dastardly strategy: pretend to save the environment by destroying it, then human race collapses, then the real problem (in the minds of Club of Rome cultists) is solved.

September 14, 2019 12:53 pm

This constant harping on greenhouse gases “X thousand times stronger than CO2” is getting ridiculous.

A few points:

1. All gases with molecules of three or more atoms, or two atoms of different elements are greenhouse gases.

2. All greenhouse gases are highly effective when present in very small quantities, but decrease rapidly in effectiveness as the absorption bands are saturated

3. Hence essentially all greenhouse gases are much stronger than the extremely saturated CO2. Even CO2 would be “thousands of times stronger” if it was as rare as SF6 in the atmosphere (about 10 parts per trillion)

4. The popularity of SF6 is largely due to the prohibition of PCB as filling for oil-filled high voltage devices. There really isn’t a lot of thermally stable strong dielectrics to choose from.

john cooknell
September 14, 2019 2:59 pm

At last somebody with some sense, the Global Warming Potential of SF6 in a bit of HV switchgear is zero.

The leakage is monitored to ensure the equipment operates without fault, the gas pressure must be stable or the gear cannot be used.

What struck me in the Matt McGrath alarmist story is that the gaseous emissions of human civilisation are so harmless.

CO2 and Methane are naturally occurring trace gases that vary in concentration due to lots of natural processes and are harmless or beneficial to life on earth.

Earl Smith
September 14, 2019 3:17 pm

For all those that mention how SF6 is so harmless, remember that when you have an electric discharge though that insulating gas you produce another compound S2F10 which is the evil stepsister of SF6. It is HIGHLY poisonous (worse than phosgene) and a known cancer causer. So just remember that chemistry produces both the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. SO as long as you have no arc overs your equipment is fine, but as soon as it deteriorates you have a real monster on your hands.

Reply to  Earl Smith
September 15, 2019 12:28 am

However SF6 is largely “self-healing”, it recombines into SF6, the yield of S2F10 is low.

And as a matter of fact S2F10 by itself is non toxic. It however decomposes into SF6, which is harmless, and SF4, which is not.

John Q Public
September 14, 2019 5:35 pm

The Amazon is a net “greenhouse” gas emitter.

#TreeMethaneKills #ChopDownAllTrees #ForTheChildren

42.7 Tg CH4 annually (Pangala, et al) = 3.6 billion tons CO2 equivalent (convert to ton, multiply x 84)

Amazon uptake = 2.2 billion ton uptake of CO2, annually (NASA, Espirito Santo)

3.6-2.2 = 1.4 billion ton CO2 equivalent net release!

September 14, 2019 6:09 pm

Re. the good, the bad, and the ugly of chemistry, then think of the change in
life expectation from the 1950 tees to the present day.

When in the 1940 tees I thought about life, it was accepted that a man retired a
at 65, and in most cases was dead by 66, women lasted a few years longer.

From the governments point of view this was good, you worked, an paid your
taxes till you retired, then you died, no long term problem with Treasury trying to
finding the money for your pension payments.

So today most people in the Western countries can look forward to a mostly
trouble free retirement till about 80, with women usually having another
10 years.

So what has happened ?, we are told by the Greenies that since at least
the 1950 tees we have been doing all the wrong things, so how come we
are enjoying a much longer life span, myself at 92.

This seems to me of being a case of sour grapes thinking by the Greenies,
their dream of a sort of World Government paradise, with them being the
boss of course is fading fast.

Yes its not a perfect world, but the solution is not to make the West
bankrupt We need to be far richer, then we can within sensible limits, to b e
able to help others , both at home , and in the so called Third World.


Reply to  Michael
September 17, 2019 12:17 pm


There’s a cartoon with one cave dweller asking another “We’ve been doing [list of eco things] but we aren’t living any longer. Why?”

September 15, 2019 3:01 am

I thought you all believed that BBC only gave FAKE news? But you then believe this!?

Are you now worried by a GHG. But I thought AGW was FAKE? So no problem here!

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