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What is SF6? Study raises concerns about gas that is 24,000x more powerful than CO2

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Euronews or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A new study highlights China's significant role in the surge of SF6 emissions, a potent greenhouse gas used for insulating power lines, which is 24,000 times more impactful than CO2 
• This increase is attributed to the country's expanding electricity demand

🔭 The context: SF6, or sulfur hexafluoride, is part of the man-made fluorinated gases group with a global warming potential of approximately 24,300 compared to CO2's 1 
• Its longevity in the atmosphere exceeds 1,000 years, posing a severe threat to the global climate

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The emissions of SF6 from China in 2021 amounted to 125 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent, about 1% of the nation's total carbon emissions 
• This revelation underscores the urgent need for global efforts to manage and reduce the emissions of such potent gases to mitigate climate change impacts

⏭️ What's next: With SF6 emissions nearly doubling in China from 2011 to 2021, the study suggests adopting SF6 leak minimization practices and exploring SF6-free equipment as crucial steps 
• Additionally, the European Union's new F-gas regulation aims to phase out these gases by 2050, despite pressures to allow SF6 use where alternatives are unavailable

💬 One quote: "Any increase in SF6 emissions this century will effectively alter our planet’s radioactive budget well beyond the multi-decade time frame of current climate policies," (Ronald Prinn, MIT Joint Program and CGCS Director)

📈 One stat: SF6 emissions from China have nearly doubled over the last decade, from 2.6 gigagrams per year in 2011 to 5.1 Gg per year in 2021, now accounting for 57% of global emissions

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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