There's a research paper being much-touted in the tech and green press: concludes that nitrogen trifluoride is many times worse for the earth's atmosphere than methane or CO2 or the more popular greenhouse gases. That nitrogen trifluoride, also known as NF3, its chemical formula, is used in making...you got it: computer microchips and liquid crystal display panels.
The manufacture of the gas, which is used in making high-tech gear, is expanding annually. If it escapes from a flat screen, say one that's broken in a car wreck or by a clumsy mover, not to mention ones that will eventually make it to landfills...well, old NF3 is good for about 550 years in the atmosphere. The scientists estimate it is 17000 times worse than CO2 for creating atmospheric warming.
Good news for the electronics industry: there is no regulation of the gas and no mention in any international treaty. The number #1 NF3 maker is an American company and their business is booming. Air Products, Allentown, Pennsylvania. This is not a stock tip.
This gas was not even on scientists' radar when the current Kyoto Protocol was drawn up. The Kyoto Protocol focused on just six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, PFCs and sulfur hexafluoride. The American researchers who are calling attention to NF3 are working on ways to measure its presence in the atmosphere already.