Now consider that emissions of mercury from burning natural gas for electricity generation are negligible. Particulate emissions from natgas vehicles are up to 90% lower than particulate emissions from diesel-fueled vehicles; however, natural gas may generate more ultra fine particles than diesel. Tighter vehicle emissions and fuel standards, and the right emissions reduction technologies in the transport sector - and, of course, the extent of conversion from diesel - are key to maximizing the public health benefits of natgas as a transport fuel, but those benefits appear to be considerable. Natgas production, too, must avoid air pollution if we are to achieve the biggest benefits.
Can natgas be a tool to reduce incidence of autism? The answer to this question could present another inconvenient truth to opponents of shale gas development.
The public health benefits of responsibly-produced, natgas-derived energy versus coal and diesel must be considered in any reasoned discussion about the place of shale gas in our energy mix, and our energy future.