Natural gas warms us when it’s chilly out. It quickly and efficiently heats water after a hot shower. Memories are made at backyard bar-b-ques over a gas grill with family and friends.
In addition to delivering warmth and comfort, natural gas helps us address critical issues like climate change. Northwest Gas Association members (NWGA) are committed to addressing climate change and maintain that natural gas is a climate solution.
States and provinces across the Pacific Northwest are currently crafting climate action policies to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Natural gas – a clean, low-cost and abundant energy resource – is already reducing GHGs in our region and across North America.
Regional climate action policy proposals include a tax (WA) or a cap (OR) on carbon emissions. A tax is relatively straightforward to administer. British Columbia has a carbon tax that’s been in place for several years. The theory is that increasing the cost of consuming or producing something will result in less of it being consumed or produced. However, emission reductions are not guaranteed in a carbon tax scheme, though higher energy costs are. Click here to see how a carbon tax at certain levels might affect an average consumer’s bill.
An emissions cap, on the other hand, mandates a certain level of emissions but can be complex to administer. California has an emissions cap in place, though it has not yet been fully implemented. While an emissions cap specifically limits the amount of carbon that can be emitted, the costs of compliance are uncertain until they’ve been incurred.
The NWGA maintains that the following are vital attributes to include in a climate action policy. It must:
- Accommodate the ongoing need of NWGA members to invest in and maintain system safety and reliability;
- Preserve customer energy choice and affordability for families and the businesses that employ them;
- Acknowledge and accommodate the regulatory obligation of utilities to serve customer demand for natural gas;
- Be transparent, predictable and easily understood by the ultimate consumer; and
- Be consistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.