Dave Parker Natural gas is ahead of the curve

Read my latest response on the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to the question, “Should Carbon Be Priced Sector By Sector?”

The American Gas Association (AGA) commends Senators Kerry, Graham, Lieberman, Cantwell, Collins, Bingaman and Murkowski for helping to keep a spotlight on our nation’s energy issues and looking for smart, creative and logical alternatives to address America’s need for a sound energy policy. By recognizing the role that clean, domestic and abundant natural gas can and will play in combating climate change, our legislators can help reach our nation’s energy goals sooner.

AGA urges members of Congress to take a look at the successful track record of America’s natural gas customers. During the past 40 years, while the number of natural gas customers has doubled, actual natural gas use and greenhouse gas emissions have remained essentially flat. This decline in residential gas usage per household is due to better insulated homes, more efficient appliances and conservation/efficiency programs supported by natural gas utilities.

This remarkable success in both reducing natural gas usage on a per-household basis and increasing appliance efficiency should be considered when crafting a national energy strategy. Instead of simply mandating arbitrary prescriptive requirements, a far more effective course of action would be to continue to support these successful approaches and encourage other innovative ways to promote conservation.

We believe that natural gas could, and should, be used as a tool to improve environmental quality and energy efficiency. An approach to reducing emissions that is focused on appliance efficiency standards, building codes, and utility-supported conservation/efficiency programs has a proven track record for residential and commercial natural gas customers. As it looks to the future, Congress should also identify what has worked in the past and encourage more of it.

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