I thought you might be interested in the following letter to the editor Dave Parker submitted to The Hill regarding the coal-to-natural-gas conversation.
Your recent article, “Natural gas lobby steps up to challenge coal” (3/1/10), wrongly insinuated that a “fight” is brewing between natural gas and coal trade associations in Washington over impending climate legislation.
Rather, the natural gas industry has good news to share about the environmental benefits of natural gas and is rightly using any venue possible to spread this positive message.
Americans have indicated that they care deeply about reducing carbon in our atmosphere. That’s why the American Gas Association (AGA), a trade association that represents 195 local energy companies that deliver natural gas throughout the United States, is working to educate lawmakers and consumers about the clean, efficient properties of natural gas.
AGA believes Americans have a right to know that natural gas emits 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 30 percent less than heating oil. Based on these numbers alone, it’s clear that natural gas can and should play a major role in reducing carbon emissions in the United States. While these carbon reductions can best be achieved through direct use of natural gas in the home (i.e. heating and cooking), major carbon reductions can also be achieved from natural gas-fired power plants, as was mentioned in your article.
AGA is a proponent of fuel diversity in the United States. Our country must rely on a mix of fuels if we are to achieve energy security and freedom from dependence on foreign oil.
As a clean-burning, domestically abundant, low carbon fuel, natural gas is “here and now” and is ready to help our country reach its energy goals. In fact, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu visited AGA offices last month and clearly stated that natural gas is a necessary component of any truly renewable energy program.
Without engaging in “fights” or petty exchanges, AGA will continue to inform lawmakers about our industry’s good story and about the possibilities of natural gas in a new energy future.
Let me know if you think we’re on the mark in the comments below.
Posted in Natural Gas
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.
I’m getting a little pumped about Dave’s panel during the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE)’s “All Roads to Copenhagen” Summit tomorrow. I don’t get a chance to physically get out of the office much so it’ll be a nice opportunity to talk to some people face to face. Plus, I’ll be bringing the video camera and taking some shots while I’m there. And yes to the Alliance, we will be dropping the occasional tweet or two.
The real reason I’m looking forward to the event though is we’re releasing some pretty important news tomorrow and Dave is going to be mentioning it during his panel.
What is it? Well, I can’t say yet.
Be sure to visit the ASE web site for full info on the event. I’m cutting and pasting the full agenda here to make it easier ( Dave’s session starts at 9:20 a.m.) You’ll of course find me by the pastries beforehand.
In the meantime, why don’t you read about National Academies recommendation that the U.S. Department of Energy change its system of setting appliance energy-efficiency standards to a full-fuel-cycle measurement.
||Opening and Welcome Remarks
- Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy
- Ken Salazar, Secretary, Deparment of the Interior
||Utility Perspective Panel
- Ken Ostrowski, Director, McKinsey & Company
- Jim Rogers, President & CEO, Duke Energy
- Tom King, President, National Grid USA
- Dave Parker, President & CEO, American Gas Association
- Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
||Business Perspective Panel
- Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Google
- John Woodworth, Senior Vice President, Corporate Supply Chain Operations, 3M Company
- William Archer, Chief Marketing Officer, AT&T
- Kelly Romano, President, Building Systems and Services Carrier Corporation, UTC
- Rick Mire, Corporate Environmental Manager, Exxon Mobil
- Karen Harbert, President & CEO, Institute for 21st Century Energy
||Coffee & Networking Break
- Suresh Prabhu, Former Member of Parliament and Union Minister for Power, India
||Labor/Public Interest Perspective (5 min. each then Q&A) – Confirmed Speakers:
- Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Chris Chafe, Executive Director, Change to Win
- Victor Borras-Setien, General Director, National Fund for Housing (INFONAVIT), Mexico
- Evangelina Hirata, Deputy General Director, National Housing Commission (CONAVI), Mexico
||Closing Comments and Adjourn
- Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy
Posted in energy
Recently Dave Parker participated in the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog to respond to their question, “House Hurdles: Which Will Be Hardest for Climate Bill?” Please take a moment to read his response posted below or visit the National Journal Energy Experts blog to view the comments from others in this respected group.
The American Gas Association (AGA) agrees that while the House Energy and Commerce Committee vote was an important first step in trying to pass climate change legislation, there are several significant obstacles to overcome before a bill will get to President Obama’s desk for signature. No matter how daunting the challenge, however, AGA is committed to working with Congress and the administration on this critical national issue.
We strongly believe that both natural gas utilities and their customers can and should contribute to improving the nation’s energy efficiency in order to meet the nation’s goals of optimizing our resources, maximizing our energy security, increasing conservation and reducing carbon emissions. In fact, if you look at our member’s track record when it comes to energy efficiency, you will find that the number of natural gas customers has increased more than 70% (38 million homes in 1970 to 65 million in 2005) since 1970, yet total residential natural gas consumption has remained about the same as it was in 1970. By insulating their windows and doors, by using energy-efficient appliances, and by conservation methods as simple as turning down the thermostat, natural gas residential and commercial customers have reduced their average natural gas consumption by about 1 percent annually since 1980-this rate of decline has accelerated to about 2 percent annually since 2000.
As the cleanest fossil fuel, emitting only one carbon atom when burned, natural gas can play a major part in significantly reducing carbon emissions. We look forward to working with Congress to craft sound policies that encourage the increased use of clean, abundant, domestic natural gas, which will improve our environment, enhance energy security and save American consumers money.
Posted in environment