​Natural gas group touts climate benefit as fuel comes under fire

A natural gas industry group is touting the fuel’s climate credentials as more cities move to ban it from homes and businesses.

Using gas for heating and cooking is far more efficient than using it to produce electricity, according to prepared remarks to investors by Scott Prochazka, chairman of the American Gas Association and chief executive officer of utility CenterPoint Energy Inc. More than 90 per cent of the energy produced from a gas well is delivered to consumers after it’s processed and transported, compared with just over a third when it’s used to generate power, he said.

“Any realistic plan to continue toward a cleaner energy future must include natural gas,” he said in a presentation in New York viewed by Bloomberg News.

The gas industry is going on the attack to counter a trend started last year, when California’s Berkeley became the first U.S. city to ban its use in most new buildings. Other cities have followed, with more considering similar moves amid a push to accelerate the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels.

Prochazka, who spoke to a group including bankers, analysts, hedge funds and credit agencies, said improved technology like smart thermostats and high-efficiency dryers can help reduce emissions from gas use. The gas distribution network itself, which delivers the fuel to consumers, has cut emissions 73 per cent since 1990 by replacing older pipelines, he said.

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