Is natural gas a clean burning fuel?

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    Natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels, emitting around 117,000 pounds of CO2 for every billion BTU of energy input.  Compare this to oil (164,000 lbs/CO2) and coal (208,000 lbs/CO2).  Natural gas also emits less nitrogen oxides (92 compared to 448 for oil and 457 for coal), and emits zero mercury.

     

    Fossil Fuel Emission Levels
    – Pounds per Billion Btu of Energy Input
    Pollutant Natural Gas Oil Coal
    Carbon Dioxide 117,000 164,000 208,000
    Carbon Monoxide 40 33 208
    Nitrogen Oxides 92 448 457
    Sulfur Dioxide 1 1,122 2,591
    Particulates 7 84 2,744
    Mercury 0.000 0.007 0.016
    Source: EIA – Natural Gas Issues and Trends 1998
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