President Barack Obama announced that the Federal Government will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 28% by 2020.
On 5 October 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability, setting measurable environmental performance goals for Federal Agencies. Each Federal Agency was required to submit a 2020 GHG pollution reduction target from its estimated 2008 baseline to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget by January 4, 2010. The new Federal target is the aggregate of 35 Federal Agency self-reported targets.
As the single largest energy consumer in the US economy, the Federal Government spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008 alone. Achieving the Federal GHG pollution reduction target will reduce Federal energy use by the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs, equal to 205 million barrels of oil, and taking 17 million cars off the road for one year. This is also equivalent to a cumulative total of $8 to $11 billion in avoided energy costs through 2020.
Federal Departments and Agencies will achieve greenhouse gas pollution reductions by measuring their current energy and fuel use, becoming more energy efficient and shifting to clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. Examples of agency actions that are underway are available on the White House Council on Environmental Quality website.
As a next step, the Office of Management and Budget will validate and score each agency’s sustainability plan, assuring a long-term return on investment to the American taxpayer. To ensure accountability, annual progress will be measured and reported online to the public.
Copenhagen. Separately, the Obama administration officially announced its desire to associate with the Copenhagen Accord and submitted an emissions reduction target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020—contingent on passing legislation—to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.