All fossil fuels emit some common pollutants when burned, but because natural gas contains the least amount of carbon of all the fossil fuels, it produces fewer pollutants.
Carbon dioxide and methane, as well as several other gases, are referred to as greenhouse gases. When these compounds are released into the air and make their way to the upper atmosphere, they increase the amount of heat that is reflected back to the earth's surface causing what is known as global warming or the greenhouse effect.
Acid rain forms when oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide combine in the atmosphere.
During the drilling, production, processing and distribution of natural gas, small amounts of methane are released into the atmosphere as well as, in some cases, small amounts of sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and other gases. When natural gas is burned, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons are also released into the atmosphere.
Natural gas has the reputation of being the cleanest burning of all common fuels. It contributes the least to acid rain, the greenhouse effect and urban smog. Recognizing that improvements can always be made, the gas industry is constantly striving to discover ways to reduce the emissions that are released in the gas field, from the gas distribution system and from gas burners.