Why do we call a dirty fossil fuel ‘natural’ gas? 

Source: Seattle Times


For just a seven-letter adjective, “natural” carries a lot of weight.

Why? What’s in a name? Natural gas by any other would smell just as flatulent.

Well, what began as a simple — even logical — distinction in the early 1800s has transitioned into a wildly successful branding campaign for fossil fuel companies.

Natural gas generates electricity, heats our water and cooks our food. It’s a divisive topic these days, and the controversy ranges from the dangers of indoor use to the big-picture national transition away from coal and gasoline.

It’s billed as a cheaper fuel and a cleaner way to shift to renewable energy. There are substantial caveats to both claims, but businesses and people profiting from natural gas continue to spread them, leaning on the very name of the fuel to lend their arguments credibility.

Read more: Why do we call a dirty fossil fuel ‘natural’ gas?