Laura Sheehan Should Uncle Sam Turn Down Our Lights?

National Journal Recently Dave Parker participated in the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to respond to their question, “Should Uncle Sam Turn Down Our Lights?” Please take a moment to read his response posted below and visit the National Journal Energy Experts blog to view the comments from others in this respected group.

While the American Gas Association (AGA) supports a portfolio of federal energy efficiency measures, including market-based incentives, voluntary programs, and minimum efficiency codes and standards, we strongly believe that any energy or climate change legislation must recognize the leading role U.S. natural gas customers have already played in improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at home and at work.  In fact, by using energy wisely and making smart choices every day, our members’ customers have reduced their per-household consumption so dramatically that there has been virtually no growth in emissions in nearly three decades, despite a 70 percent increase in households using natural gas.

With this in mind, AGA supports climate change and energy policies that focus on reducing energy consistent with the recent recommendations of a study published by the National Academies (NA). That study recommended using a full-fuel-cycle measurement when determining an end-use product’s overall energy efficiency.  This full-fuel-cycle measurement takes into account the amount of energy produced and lost from the point of production to the final point of use, which is far more accurate and would provide consumers with more complete information on energy use and environmental impacts.  For example, in producing, generating and transmitting electricity from its point of origin to the electric outlet in a customer’s home or business, 70 percent of the useable energy is lost.  By contrast, producing and delivering natural gas directly from its point of origin to the customer’s burner tip loses only about 10 percent of its usable energy.

The NA study also supports the “carbon footprint labeling” provisions championed by AGA that were recently included in the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation.  These provisions would expand the existing Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide labeling program for appliances to include carbon footprint information.

AGA will continue to inform lawmakers about the benefits of natural gas and the energy efficiency and environmental advantages of incorporating the full-fuel-cycle measurement into any climate change energy legislation. As these critical issues are addressed in the next few weeks, we are committed to being involved in the debate on behalf of our members’ natural gas customers.

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