Dave Parker Do Hacked E-mails Change Climate Debate?

national journal energy and environment expert blog
My latest comment from the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog.

Natural Gas Already Thinking Ahead

There is little doubt that the University of East Anglia’s e-mails provide fodder for those who oppose or even question the legitimacy of climate change. The apparent machinations brought to light by these justifiably scandalous e-mails do indeed cast doubt on the objective sincerity of some scientists. And they may very well draw into question these experts’ contributions to the objective debate surrounding global climate issues and of humanity’s contributing role.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that the issue of climate change is a top priority for the Obama administration and for Congress. For most observers, the overwhelming body of scientific evidence seems to have put the matter to rest, certainly in the eyes of many of those heading to Copenhagen. Only this week the Environmental Protection Agency officially declared greenhouse gas emissions a threat to human health.

What really matters right now is taking action to frame this wide-ranging debate in a way that provides both meaningful structure to address the world’s environmental challenges and allows for reasonable input from industries likely to be affected by any resulting regulation. Regardless of any action as a result of the Copenhagen negotiations, it should be noted that America’s natural gas utilities already have a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to being environmental stewards.

Terms like conservation and energy efficiency are not new to our industry; rather, they are our hallmarks. In fact, residential customers who use natural gas for heating have a carbon footprint today that is essentially the same as it was in 1970, even though the number of households using natural gas has grown from 38 million in 1970 to 65 million in 2009.

AGA will, therefore, continue to pursue the course we are already on – to encourage the use of clean, abundant, domestic natural gas in direct-use applications, as part of a low-carbon portfolio for energy generation and in innovative, effective ways such as the new generation of natural gas vehicles.

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