Call natural gas methane

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Nobody wanted to eat Patagonian toothfish. Then in 1977 an American fish merchant changed the name to Chilean sea bass and it took off. Similarly, the Chinese gooseberry was not popular. It is known as the kiwi today. And did you know that before canola oil was so common it used to be called rapeseed oil?

Names can make things sound so much better or worse. Take methane, more well known as natural gas. Would people feel differently about burning it, and the leaks between capture and delivery, that are causing our planet to overheat with a more accurate name? A study actually looked into it and found that the terms methane and methane gas evoke much more negative feelings.

Words matter. While we are at it, perhaps we could change the name of an endangered species of rhinoceros to battle unicorns to bring more attention to it? :-)


• Use the term methane when you can, but you may still need to use the term natural gas to be understood when necessary. How Earth Hero uses the term is an example of that. Progress, not perfection.

• It may feel strange to use a different term at first, but it will feel more normal as you get into the habit of using it.

• A small detail in case it comes up - While natural gas is almost all methane, it does contain a little ethane and other hydrocarbons. Because it is mostly methane, it is still a fair name.

• Looking to push the limits further? Consider other options: fossil gas, fracked gas, or piped methane.

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