The National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts blog asked the question, “White House Emissions Target: A Hit Or Miss?” You can read Dave Parker’s response below and follow this link to see what the other experts had to say.
While AGA is closely monitoring the progress of climate legislation and the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations, we have not taken a stance on timelines and specific percentage targets. The primary reason is that trying to peer into a future full of competing legislation and partisan interests is likely an exercise in futility. Rather, AGA is focused on the achievement of more practical goals, such as how to continue to help move toward a reduced carbon future. It should be noted that the residential sector, using natural gas for heating, has 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 today.
In actionable terms, when looking at the 2020 target reduction of 17 percent below 2005 levels of greenhouse gas emissions, natural gas can continue to play a key role in achieving that near-term goal. And on that point, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) agrees that maximizing the immediate use of natural gas, along with existing clean technologies of renewable energy and energy efficiency, is the most effective way to realistically reach these targets.
BCSE’s strategic vision establishes that in a near-term scenario leading to 2020, renewables, being zero- or low-carbon emission energy sources, can address incremental new energy demand to supplement existing energy supply. Meanwhile, increases in energy efficiency, which residential and commercial natural gas customers have led the nation in achieving for nearly three decades, can contribute to reductions in overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
With respect to this partnership approach, BCSE points out that as the lowest carbon-emitting fossil fuel, natural gas is uniquely positioned to complement the addition of renewable energy to the existing grid. Natural gas is a reliable and efficient fuel and, when used appropriately as part of a diverse energy portfolio, can be an effective substitute for more carbon-intensive energy sources.
So while the debate about timelines and targets will no doubt continue, AGA is focused on the here-and-now technologies and resources that will actually affect change for our country, our environment and for the world’s climate.