Washington, DC – The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2454, passed today by the House of Representatives includes several important provisions that will reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses that use natural gas for heating and cooling, said the American Gas Association (AGA). The bill, crafted by representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA), passed by a vote of 219-212.
“Today’s vote is the first of many Congressional steps that may ultimately help transition the United States to a more energy efficient, low-carbon nation,” said David Parker, AGA president and CEO. “While implementing a nationwide climate plan is a daunting challenge, AGA stands ready to work with lawmakers to ensure that clean burning natural gas is a key part of the solution.”
The bill provides that natural gas residential and commercial customers would not be covered under a carbon cap until 2016. At that time, natural gas utilities would receive 9 percent of emissions allowances until 2025, when they will begin to reduce those allowances to zero by 2030.
Also included in the bill are “carbon footprint labeling” provisions, supported by AGA, which would expand the existing Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide labeling program for home appliances to include carbon footprint information. The labels would help customers determine which appliance option has the lowest total environmental impact.
Last month, AGA called attention to a study conducted by the National Academies of Science, which found that a “full-fuel-cycle” measurement is the most accurate way to calculate energy consumption and environmental impact on home appliances. Currently, efficiency ratings only consider energy consumption at the point of end use, such as the burner tip, and don’t take into account energy lost in the production, generation, transmission and distribution processes. Measuring energy from the “source” would not only give consumers complete information about the carbon footprint of their products but also would result in significantly greater carbon reductions.
“When the Senate takes up H.R. 2454, AGA will inform lawmakers about the benefits of natural gas and the advantage of incorporating the full-fuel-cycle measurement into any climate energy legislation,” Parker said. “We look forward to the coming weeks when these critical issues will be more fully addressed and we are committed to being involved in the debate on behalf of our natural gas customers.”