Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Scientific Non-Sequitur of the Week

Dear BBC

Re: this paragraph in your otherwise quite interesting article on heat pumps.

"The selling point was simple - while other companies were using hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - a potent greenhouse gas that is being banned by the EU - as the coolant, Star proposed using ammonia, which contains no carbon."

You see, you know what you have done there?  You've seen the word "carbon" and assumed that makes things greenhouse gases. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas yet is remarkably low in carbon. Next time you put science in a business story, why not ask a scientist?


  1. So how can we stop our emissions of water vapour? Ban tea and coffee? Force people to breathe into a paper bag?

  2. As it happens HFCs are much more potent greenhouse gases than Carbon Dioxide, but fortunately there's not much about. Ammonia is harmful to water-life for that matter. But I agree that Carbon => Bad is foolhardy, and that Water is deadly climate-wise (as is cow-produced methane).

  3. Sigh. Scientists aren't that hard to find, tweet the sentence and I'll bet a few dozen will let you know if you aren't spot on in a minute or two.


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