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Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions Touted House Hearing
Washington, D.C. â€” The vice chair of the American Gas Association (AGA), John W. Somerhalder, today told members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerceâ€™s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment that Americaâ€™s residential natural gas customers are leaders in combating climate change because they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions steadily for the last 30 years.
â€śBy 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,â€ť 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 Waxmanâ€™s (D-CA) and Edward Markeyâ€™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.
â€śBecause 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,â€ť Mr. Somerhalder said. â€śShould 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.â€ť
AGA endorses the â€ścarbon footprint labelingâ€ť provisions in the bill, which would expand the existing Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide labeling program for home appliances to include carbon footprint information.
â€śAs 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.â€ť Mr. Somerhalder stated.
Mr. Somerhalder stressed that as Americaâ€™s cleanest fossil fuel, with the smallest carbon footprint, natural gas is part of the climate change solution. â€śWe look forward to working with the committee as this critical national issue unfolds,â€ť he said.