Issue Date: June 30, 2008
N2O Versus CO2
The Business Concentrates item “Ube will Abate N2O in Thailand” states, “‘Nitrous oxide’s contribution to global warming is 310 times that of CO2,’ the companies note” (C&EN, March 31, page 17). Actually, nitrous oxide’s contribution is much smaller; the correct statement would be, “A pound of nitrous oxide has been estimated to have 310 times more warming potential than a pound of CO2.” Because the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere is several orders of magnitude higher than the mass of nitrous oxide, nitrous oxide’s overall contribution to global warming is smaller than that of CO2.
Editor’s Note: Gilbert is correct, of course, it should have been 2-propanol. C&EN’s own style guide has an extended section on chemical nomenclature, with a part devoted to the names of alcohols. It concludes, “Some commonly used names of alcohols confuse the two systems, are always incorrect, and should never be used in C&EN. Examples include isopropanol, isobutanol,” Sigh.
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