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The Difference between Methane and Natural Gas

What would you rather power your stove with: natural gas or methane

We understand that they are pretty much the same thing, however early findings from research published by Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication suggests that Americans prefer natural gas simply because it sounds safer.

A survey conveyed to both Democrats and Republicans rated their positive and negative feelings towards four phrases:

  1. natural gas,
  2. natural methane gas,
  3. methane, or
  4. methane gas.

The results showed that people strongly favored the natural version regardless of their political view.

Methane and natural gas are often used as synonyms, but they are not exactly perfect substitutes.

Methane is a colorless, odorless, and flammable greenhouse gas, while Natural gas is primarily methane but contains ethane, propane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor as well. The Trump Administration’s Department of Energy rebranded it as “freedom gas” while environmental advocates sometimes prefer ‘fracked gas” or fossil gas.”

These competing terms are becoming more and more politically polarized, yet natural gas appeals more across both party lines. In the Yale study, natural gas made people think of words such as fuel, clean, energy, and cooking. However, methane correlated to words like cows, methane grass, and climate change. “These findings indicate that the terms used to communicate about this fossil fuel can have dramatically different effects,” a news release about the research concluded.

You might wonder if the term natural gas was first used as a marketing tactic, but it appears that it arose to help differentiate from artificial gas, its alternative, which makes us question the luck that gas came to be known as “natural.” About 76 percent of Americans see natural gas positively, which widely overtakes oil (51 percent) and coal (39 percent). Conventionally it was thought that natural gas was the connector to a renewable-powered future, there are arguments that burning through gas resources will cause carbon dioxide levels to rise to a dangerous level. There are also numerous health effects that come from burning gas, such as household gas stoves causing respiratory problems and cardiovascular disease over time.

Always remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean good for you!


Article cited from:  https://tinyurl.com/y44h84jc