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About those "green" solar panels ...
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, December 09, 2008

You know with what is going on with the bailout, the transition and any number of things, I'm going to have to order another supply of irony meters because my entire stock has pegged out this month.

The latest?
Think switching to solar energy will make you green? Think again. Many of the newest solar panels are manufactured with a gas that is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming.

Nitrogen trifluoride, or NF3, is used for cleaning microcircuits during the manufacture of a host of modern electronics, including flat-screen TVs, iPhones, computer chips—and thin-film solar panels, the latest (and cheapest) generation of solar photovoltaics. (Time named the panels one of the best inventions of 2008.) Because industry estimates suggested that only about 2 percent of NF3 ever made it into the atmosphere, the chemical has been marketed as a cleaner alternative to other higher-emitting options. For the past decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has actively encouraged its use. NF3 also wasn’t deemed dangerous enough to be covered by the Kyoto Protocol, making it an attractive substitute for companies and signatory countries eager to lower their emissions footprints.

It turns out that NF3 might not be so green after all. “NF3 has a potential greenhouse impact larger than … even that of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants,” according to a June 2008 study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine.
Of course you know how I feel about the whole CO2 nonsense. But after reading this I couldn't help feeling - again - that the majority of the global warming theories and solutions come from a bunch of folks who have an agenda, but, in reality, haven't a real clue about the environment, how it works or what man's impact on it might really be. They just know what they want it to be and what they'd like to do about it and are therefore willing to pony up any excuse or exaggeration to get us moving in their direction.

The problem is that cluelessness isn't exclusive to the enviros. Nor are agendas. In fact, the problem is we have an entire political class that reflects exactly the same characteristics. Unfortunately the clueless enviros have convinced the clueless politicians that their "global warming" agenda is a good political agenda to follow. After all, as cluelessly presented, it has planet saving potential - and what good little politician doesn't want to save the planet?

Then we find out things like "solar panels - the hope of the green future - use a gas which isn't natural to our atmosphere - like CO2 - that has 17,000 times the potential to contribute to the dreaded 'greenhouse effect".

Heh ... not to worry, this is the last time you'll see anything about this. It isn't a story that's going to be surfacing anytime soon. Solar panels are an accepted alternative by enviros and politicians to those nasty coal plants which are presently powering your computer. The consensus will gladly ignore this little bit of contradictory news and keep touting 'green' solar panels.

Is it any wonder that Foreign Policy Magazine lists this as one of the top 10 stories of 2008 you "missed"?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

"It turns out that NF3 might not be so green after all."

NF3, MBTE. Funny how green fades so quickly.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well, look, here, apparently is the rule:

Wait until something gets used a lot, and /or is intergal to the manufacture of something Americans buy. It is only then that we label it a global warming threat.

Written By: Bithead
Think switching to solar energy will make you green? Think again. Many of the newest solar panels are manufactured with a gas that is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming.
I have read a similar complaint about hybrid and electric car batteries polluting more than regular ic engines, but that one turned out not to be true. We’ll see where this one leads. They have yet to find any traces in the atmosphere, but they haven’t really looked yet.

Environmental groups have been suggesting that this substance be monitored for several years, and most manufacturers already voluntary monitor emissions. So it’s not completely off the radar of environmentalists as suggested.

We’ll see.
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
and most manufacturers already voluntary monitor emissions.
Actually, there’s nothing in that acrticle that suggests they monitor emissions, only that they have a process that should destroy 98% of the NF3 left over from manufacture. Thus the call for monitoring (and the frequent use of the word "could" when describing their own statistics).
Written By: Phil
URL: http://
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