Trump’s Fumes, Possibly Explained Again

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Wait! We have a new entry on the list of possible explanations for President Trump’s blathering about wind turbines emitting “fumes” that harm everyone. Here it is:

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

….“As renewable projects are getting bigger and bigger, we have had to use it within wind turbines specifically,” said Costa Pirgousis, an engineer with Scottish Power Renewables on its new East Anglia wind farm, which doesn’t use SF6 in turbines. “As we are putting in more and more turbines, we need more and more switchgear and, as a result, more SF6 is being introduced into big turbines off shore.

Is it possible that someone put a bug in Trump’s ear about SF6 and he then garbled it in his usual way? Maybe! There’s a good chance we’ll never know, but this is certainly a possibility.

POSTSCRIPT: Just so you know, SF6 is bad, and we probably ought to ban it. However, the total amount used is so small that even though it’s far more powerful than CO2, its overall impact on global warming is nonetheless about one-thousandth as much as CO2.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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