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The chemical composition of natural gas is the reason for its widespread acceptance as the cleanest of all fossil fuels:
- During combustion, natural gas emits 25% – 30% less CO2 than oil derivatives.
- Natural gas emits between 40% – 50% less CO2 than coal.
- It contains practically no sulphur (SO2) and its combustion produces almost none
- Nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) are reduced considerably by burning natural gas when compared with other fossil fuels.
These natural advantages can be enhanced, since the great performance obtained from the use of natural gas offers considerable potential to save energy.
The Earth’s climate has been constantly changing for millions of years due to the interaction between solar radiation and the various components of the geosphere (earth, water, air) and the biosphere (living beings).
However, at present, the emission of greenhouse gases by parts of human activity is changing the course of this climate change caused by natural phenomena.
Climate change is the great environmental challenge of the 21st Century. It is a process whereby energy is retained in a similar way as to what happens in a greenhouse or the blanket covering a table with a brazier beneath it. The gases surrounding the Earth are more transparent to short-wave radiation from the Sun and instead, absorb more of the infra-red rays emitted by the Earth. For this reason, these gases reflect a part of that radiation back at the Earth, thereby contributing to global warming.
The greenhouse effect is the result of changes caused by the gases found in small proportions in the atmosphere:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous oxide (N2O)
- Ozone (O3)
- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
These gases keep the lower atmosphere and Earth’s surface warm. However, humans are overly increasing the concentration of these gases and causing a process of global warming on the Earth that is changing how the climate system works.