Read my latest response on the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to the question, “A Paler Shade of Green?”
Although the recent Gallup poll showing decreased concern over climate change is troubling, it is not surprising given the number of other, more immediate concerns facing Americans today, including such “kitchen table” issues as affordable health care, affordable energy, paying the mortgage, holding on to their jobs, and the shape of their 401k.
For many Americans, climate change is an academic argument over abstract issues that have little immediate connection to their everyday lives. When faced with losing a house or a job, worrying about health insurance or the safety of a child at war, measuring carbon emissions or reading about greenhouse gas buildup can easily fall down the list of people’s priorities.
That said, the debate over the validity of climate change, its potential causes and solutions, remains an important one, which is why AGA, its natural gas utility members and their customers continue to move forward, focusing on proven practices that can increase energy efficiency and conservation, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. From encouraging the direct use of natural gas in homes and businesses to promoting more efficient building codes and standards, our industry has a demonstrated track record of environmental stewardship. In fact, the number of residential households using natural gas increased from 38 million in 1970 to about 65 million today — an increase of more than 70% — yet aggregate residential consumption of natural gas to heat their homes over that time remained essentially flat and so have greenhouse gas emissions. Equally impressive, households across America today use 32 percent less natural gas than they did in 1980.
The point is that in natural gas households, it is still possible to concentrate on the kitchen table issues while doing your part to be energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.