Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Flat screen TVs really really bad for the environment

...not to mention our brains...

If you came and you found a strange man... teaching your kids to punch each other, or trying to sell them all kinds of products, you'd kick him right out of the house, but here you are; you come in and the TV is on, and you don't think twice about it. ~Jerome Singer
The rising demand for flat-screen televisions could have a greater impact on global warming than the world's largest coal-fired power stations, a leading environmental scientist warned yesterday.

Manufacturers use a greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride to make the televisions, and as the sets have become more popular, annual production of the gas has risen to about 4,000 tonnes.<Guardian>

The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little. ~Ray Bradbury, The Golden Apples of the Sun

The gas, nitrogen trifluoride, is 17,000 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
If all this year's production was released into the atmosphere it would have a warming effect equivalent to 67 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - roughly equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of Austria. <TPA>

Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover. ~Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

TV makes us fat, stupid, selfish, unhappy, asocial, mindless consumers... and destroys our climate (not to mention fuels the class war)... but, well, there's just so many darn good shows on.

Via Grist


JimBobby said...

Whooee! I don't like the part about "If all this year's production was released into the atmosphere..." How much is actually released? If they make 4000 tonnes but release zero, it ain't as much of an issue as if they make 4000 tonnes and 2000 tonnes is released. It'd be dang stupid to waste tonnes of this stuff, though.

I still got an old CRT TV. I ain't seriously considering replacing it until it wears out. Then, a big thing I'll be looking at is energy consumption. My flat panel computer monitor uses way less energy than the old CRT did. Do flat panel computer monitors also contain nitrogen trifluoride?

The problem of landfills filling up with sometimes hazardous electronic waste is also a factor in keeping the old. You can hardly give away old TV's and monitors -- even if they work perfectly.


Pale said...

How many people have those MASSIVE screens now? They take over the whole living room. They remind me of 1984.

I replaced my PC monitor 4 years ago with an LCD, for health reasons as a matter of fact. (Flashing causes migraines) But the TV's in the house are the old kind, and they will remain until they die. We have 4. (except for the living room one they aren't in use a lot, and remain unplugged unless they are in use.) The interesting part? We didn't pay a cent for three of them. :) One is from the dump!
Reduce reuse and recycle is a mantra in my house.
Our society is too attached to stuff. New, better, BIGGER. And the credit card debt is another indicator.

Red Jenny said...

I think part of the problem, jimbobby is that nobody really knows the true cost of what we are buying. The damage to the environment and to communities is hidden from us. Then they go and tell us that the market, competition and consumer decisions will get rid of harmful products.