Sulfuryl fluoride

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Sulfuryl fluoride is a gas used primarily as a fumigant though it may also have uses in the semi-conductor industry and as a cover gas for magnesium melt protection. Its use has been increasing as a result of the measures introduced under the Montreal Protocol to phase-out the use of bromide, an ozone-depleting substance. It is also a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect.

Sulfuryl fluoride in the Post-Kyoto Protocol Agreement

Ahead of the negotiation of the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have sought comments from governments on whether sulfuryl fluoride should be included in a new agreement.

In a submission to the UNFCCC, the Australian government argued that[1]:

"SO2F2 is the only gas currently proposed for inclusion in the post-2012 outcome that has not been reviewed by the IPCC. Available information indicates no consensus on SO2F2’s GWP and atmospheric lifetime. GWP estimates over a 100 year time horizon range from between 278 and 477 to between 500 and 2000 and as high as 8000. Atmospheric lifetimes range from less than 4.5 years,10 to approximately 30 years11. Available data suggests, however, that SO2F2’s current contribution is likely to be small. SO2F2 use is expected to rise in the future as pressure increases to reduce the use of other fumigants on efficacy, occupational health and safety and environmental grounds."
"Recapture technology for SO2F2 is in its infancy and likely to be relatively costly. The scope for mitigation of SO2F2 emissions is therefore largely limited to the adoption of alternatives; the technical and economic feasibility of which varies depending on country-specific regulatory, environmental and physical circumstances."
"These uncertainties prevent an accurate assessment of SO2F2’s relative contribution to climate change, the scope for mitigation, and associated costs. Further work to clarify these issues would appear warranted."

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References

  1. Australian Government, "Paper No 1B: Views on the coverage of greenhouse gases: Submission to the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP", August 21, 2008. (This material is in the submission on page 7 of the submissions collated by the UNFCCC.)

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