When you see an “all natural” label on a snack, you might be tempted to think it’s a healthy choice. But there’s no way around the facts: organic potato chips just aren’t as good for you as a carrot.

A similar marketing strategy is popping up in the fossil fuel industry. As the world wakes up to natural gas’ emissions impact, some producers are adopting a “certified” or “responsible” label to convince customers they’re a climate-friendly choice. But according to a new report, it’s all a “scam.”

Credit: Focal Foto / Flickr

Gas producers have started working with third-party contractors they say will evaluate their gas extraction processes for leaks and “certify” those with a lower methane emissions. As industries increasingly seek out clean energy, gas producers hope this label will make them more desirable.

But as the report from climate groups Oil Change International and Earthworks details, gas certification isn’t yet regulated, and its monitoring systems often miss methane leaks. Dakota Raynes, an author on the study, summed up its findings to Inside Climate News: “Certified gas is a greenwashing scam.”

A third-party gas certifier disputed the report’s findings. But Democratic U.S. senators recently came to the same conclusion, calling gas certification a “dangerous greenwashing scheme” in a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on the industry claims.

“The reality is that gas certification schemes allow the oil and gas industry to justify the continued expansion of methane gas use and undermine efforts towards a just transition to renewables,” the senators said.

More clean energy news

⚛️ Seeking a magic bullet: Large tech companies are betting on atomic fusion and other unproven energy technologies to power AI data centers, which critics say are already increasing reliance on fossil fuels. (Washington Post)

⚖️ A just transition? Residents of a former Pennsylvania coal community say the federal government has forgotten about them as they struggle to replace lost jobs and tax income, highlighting President Biden’s need to convince similar communities they won’t be left behind. (Washington Post)

🥃 Distilling decarbonization: A growing number of U.S. food and beverage manufacturers are using heat pumps to decarbonize the process heat they need to distill liquor and make other products. (Canary Media)

☀️ Perfect places: Researchers map millions of acres of abandoned U.S. farmland that could potentially be reused for renewable energy projects. (Journal Sentinel)

⛈️ Keeping solar panels safe: Hailstorms will likely become more common as the climate changes, but researchers say monitoring technologies and protective equipment can protect solar panels from hail damage. (Inside Climate News)

🛢️ Playing the reverse card: In New Mexico, oil and gas giants partnered with environmentalists and politicians to develop an abandoned well cleanup bill, but turned against the final product and claimed it would “destroy” the state. (ProPublica)

📉 We’re lagging on clean energy support: The world’s largest ever climate survey finds 54% of Americans want a quick transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, among the smallest majorities among counties polled. (The Guardian)

📄 Making it happen: Advocates say the 18-year permitting saga for the SunZia transmission line in the Southwest is a success story illustrating the challenges of building large-scale clean energy infrastructure. (Heatmap)

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Kathryn brings her extensive editorial background to the Vxartnews team, where she oversees the early-morning production of ENN’s five email digest newsletters as well as distribution of ENN’s original journalism with other media outlets. From documenting chronic illness’ effect on college students to following the inner workings of Congress, Kathryn has built a broad experience in her more than five years working at major publications including The Week Magazine. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism and information management and technology from Syracuse University.