Read my latest response on the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to the question, “Is Climate Change Causing Wild Weather?”
The recent weather events making news across America and across the globe do indeed give us all reason to pause. Certainly there have been recent, unusual, and in some cases tragically destructive, weather patterns, but no unanimous consensus is possible as to whether the changes are to some degree a cyclical event or a total de-linkage from the past. Likewise there never will be consensus as to how much of the changing patterns are attributable to human activities. However, we as an industry—and as a country—need to thoughtfully plan for an energy-efficient, carbon-constrained and climate-focused future. Utilizing the premier fuel that is natural gas should be a cornerstone to any such energy plan.
AGA has long understood the importance of balancing the need to meet increasing energy demands with an awareness of our environmental stewardship. Our member utilities and their customers have long supported efforts that encourage conservation and efficiency and the responsible development of America’s abundant natural gas resources.
That said, the wide-ranging debate over climate change, while taking into account the concerns of the environmental community, must also allow for reasonable input from industries likely to be affected by any resulting environmental legislation or regulations.
This is all the more reason to promote the direct use of natural gas in America’s homes and business. Not only is natural domestically abundant—meaning it can meet our growing energy needs right now—but also it is the cleanest and most efficient of the fossil fuels. In fact from the wellhead to the burner tip, natural gas loses only about 10 percent of its useable energy. Even when used to generate electricity, natural gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels and it can provide reliable baseload power, unlike other clean energy forms such as wind and solar, which are more intermittent in nature.
These attributes only highlight the important, and intelligent, role that natural gas plays in providing reliable and low-carbon energy.