Washington, D.C. — The vice chair of the American Gas Association (AGA), John W. Somerhalder, today told members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment that America’s residential natural gas customers are leaders in combating climate change because they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions steadily for the last 30 years.
“By using energy wisely, our 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,” said Mr. Somerhalder, who is also chairman, president and CEO of AGL Resources, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
During the hearing, which addressed chairmen Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) and Edward Markey’s (D-MA) American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Mr. Somerhalder said that programmatic measures such as appliance efficiency standards and building codes and standards have helped lead to a dramatic reduction in emissions by natural gas customers.
In light of these successes, the Waxman-Markey legislation delays the inclusion of natural gas customers under a cap-and-trade system until 2016.
“Because we believe programmatic measures are much more likely to lead to continued emissions reductions than a cap-and-trade program, we support a renewed and expanded emphasis on energy efficiency for the natural gas residential and small commercial sectors,” Mr. Somerhalder said. “Should natural gas residential and commercial customers be brought under the cap-and-trade system at a future time, emissions allowances required for them should be allocated rather than auctioned.”
AGA endorses the “carbon footprint labeling” provisions in the bill, which would expand the existing Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide labeling program for home appliances to include carbon footprint information.
“As America heads down the path where significant reductions in carbon output will be a top national priority, giving consumers carbon output information will provide them with essential information to help them play their part in achieving this national goal.” Mr. Somerhalder stated.
Mr. Somerhalder stressed that as America’s cleanest fossil fuel, with the smallest carbon footprint, natural gas is part of the climate change solution. “We look forward to working with the committee as this critical national issue unfolds,” he said.