Natural gas is cleaner than both petroleum and coal.
When simply looking at CO2 emissions resulting from burning natural gas, yes, it is cleaner than petroleum and coal. However, when you take into account pollution and energy expenditure that takes place in order to drill for natural gas as well as the fact that methane is also a greenhouse gas, it is not necessarily cleaner.
Drilling for natural gas using the method known as hydrofracking involves a huge expenditure of energy as 1 to 8 million gallons of water are trucked out each time that you frack a well. A well may be fracked up to 18 times. Transportation of natural gas can also be very energy intensive. It is estimated that 1.4% of gas is lost in leaks in transport from well to customer. Methane is more effected at trapping heat than CO2 and therefore even more dangerous as a greenhouse gas.
There is still a lot of debate going on as to just how bad natural gas is in terms of emissions, but you have to weigh in on everything that is involved, from drilling for the gas to actually burning it. Also take into account that natural gas, like petroleum and coal, is not a renewable source of energy.
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