Natural gas is by far the cleanest burning of the fossil fuels. It emits approximately 40 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal and about 30 percent less CO2 than oil. Carbon dioxide, of course, is one of the primary greenhouse gas emissions, so regardless of whether you are a global warming believer, denier or agnostic, you will probably agree the less CO2 we put into the atmosphere the better.
This is why natural gas is destined to play such an important role in combating climate change. The more homes and business that use natural gas for home heating, water heating or cooking, the less CO2 that goes into the air, especially if homes and businesses switch from oil heat to gas heat. It is a cleaner and therefore greener way to stay warm.
It can also be a cleaner and greener way to travel. Although the current market for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is small – due in great part to a lack of a refueling infrastructure – in fleet vehicles such as delivery trucks and vans, which have proscribed routes and come back to the same refueling station at the end of every day, the market is promising, and the environmental advantages are undeniable. This is one reason oilman T. Boone Pickens wants more natural gas vehicles on the road. Another reason is that natural gas is domestically abundant – some 90 percent of the natural gas we use in American comes from North America. The more NGVs there are on the road displacing gasoline-powered cars, the fewer the dollars that go to often unfriendly oil-producing nations.
It’s true that renewable energy such as solar and wind power are greener than natural gas, but it is just as true that their ability to meet America’s growing need for energy remains limited. Currently renewables meet about 2 percent of our energy needs. So until that day comes when they can shoulder a larger share – and we in the natural gas industry look forward to that day – natural gas will remain the clean, green fuel. It’s as simple, and easy, as that.