How Clean Is Natural Gas?
In theory, natural gas is a considerable improvement over coal. There are almost no particulates when natural gas is burned. Considerably less CO₂ is released in creating the same about of energy. The problem is natural gas aka methane aka CH₄ when it floats around in the atmosphere for a decade or so, has 80 times the warming effect of CO₂. If 3% or more of the methane leaks, it makes natural gas worse than coal in terms of climate change. In the Unita basin in Colorado, the leakage is 11%. In Los Angeles it is 17%. This just accounts for the leakage during mining. In addition there is even more leakage in the transportation and in homes. The bottom line is, unless a way can be found to stop all the leaks, natural gas is a very dirty fuel, much worse even than coal.
The American government has been ignoring this drawback. They are so excited that fracking to mine natural gas made the USA a net energy exporter.~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)