Washington, D.C. – In the wake of new and modified climate change and energy legislation being introduced on Capitol Hill, the American Gas Association (AGA) maintains that any such legislation should take into account the monumental strides U.S. natural gas consumers have made during the past 40 years to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase energy efficiency. AGA believes that natural gas could, and should, be used as a tool to improve environmental quality and energy efficiency. To that end, AGA believes that as lawmakers craft climate change and energy legislation, the following should be considered:
- If a cap-and-trade approach is implemented, Congress should maintain or increase the four year delay for natural gas utilities coming under that program; increase their allowance allocation from 9 percent to 12 percent; extend their allocated allowance phase-out from 2030 to 2040; significantly modify or delete the provision that stipulates one-third of the value of allowances allocated to natural gas utilities should go to energy efficiency programs, as this approach will not reduce emissions and will only raise costs; treat all renewable energy sources equally, whether they are used to generate electricity or supplement natural gas supplies; and keep “carbon footprint labeling” in the legislation, which will help consumers make informed carbon reduction decisions.
- A programmatic approach to reducing emissions – one 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. Such an approach is only directed at those factors over which natural gas utilities and their customers have some control. AGA asks that Congress strengthen this approach rather than imposing the higher costs and greater uncertainties that would result from a cap-and-trade approach.
Natural gas is the preferred fuel on the market today because of its clean and efficient properties. In fact, although more than 68 million homes use natural gas today compared to about 38 million homes in 1970, both natural gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over that period have remained essentially flat. Natural gas consumers are doing exactly what is needed from a climate change perspective – using a clean fuel and using it as efficiently as possible.