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Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas

A Union of Concerned Scientists Assessment

Global warming emissions

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, though the global warming emissions from its combustion are much lower than those from coal or oil.

Natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted in a new, efficient natural gas power plant compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant [1]. Considering only tailpipe emissions, natural gas also emits 15 to 20 percent less heat-trapping gases than gasoline when burned in today’s typical vehicle [2].

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