The Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), which counts among its members some of the world's largest gas producers and marketers, said Tuesday it supports carbon pricing "as a critical pathway to aggressively reducing carbon emissions."

"We want to create a clean energy future that is affordable for all and we believe a price on carbon will help get us there," said NGSA CEO Dena Wiggins. "Pricing carbon will help reduce carbon emissions now, while encouraging the development of innovative technologies like carbon capture that will drastically reduce or even eliminate emissions in the future...

"We believe a national carbon pricing plan across all sectors would achieve the best results, but if states are designing individual approaches to reducing emissions right now, we urge them to incorporate a price on carbon in power markets, ideally coordinated with other states."

NGSA recommended that state policymakers designing plans to reduce emissions choose market-based solutions that do not distort or compromise competitive energy markets. Carbon pricing should replace existing greenhouse gas subsidies and regulations, and proceeds from carbon pricing should go to affected communities, consumers and businesses, NGSA said.

"If we are serious about a cleaner future, we have to reduce carbon emissions in a way that is sustainable and that maintains diversity, reliability and affordability for households and businesses," Wiggins said. "Using natural gas combined with well designed policies that include carbon pricing is an important part of that sustainable solution because of the ability of natural gas to cut carbon and empower renewables."

In September, an oil and natural gas climate accord made up of 13 of the largest global producers launched initiatives that include decarbonizing industrial hubs to reduce methane emissions and pledged to support policies "that attribute an explicit or implicit value to carbon."

Although the U.S. government does not impose a carbon tax, producers long have been in support of enacting one. Big Oil operators, including NGSA member companies, and many independents that work overseas have for years used carbon pricing as greenhouse emissions are regulated in some regions of the world already. In addition, BP plc, ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell plc and Total SA are corporate founders of the Climate Leadership Council, which is working to replace some U.S. environmental regulations with a simplified carbon tax on businesses.

NGSA member companies include Anadarko Petroleum Corp., BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell Energy NA and Total Gas & Power NA.