Obama issues executive order for 40% reduction in federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions

Action also aims to increase government’s renewable energy use

March 28, 2015 |
Obama issues executive order for 40% reduction in federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions

IRS headquarters building. Photo: IRS

President Obama signed an executive order calling for the federal government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 40% from 2008 levels over the next decade.

The action also calls for an increase in the share of renewable energy in the federal government’s electricity supply to 30% during that same period. In step with the President’s action, federal suppliers including Honeywell, IBM, General Electric, and other major U.S. firms are pledging to reduce their own carbon footprint by 5 million metric tons over the next 10 years compared with 2008 levels.

The cumulative results of these actions would cut overall U.S. emissions by 26 million tons by 2025, the equivalent of taking nearly 5.5 million cars off the roads. A White House adviser estimated that the new measures will save $18 billion. He said that the federal government has already cut its overall emissions 17% since Obama took office, saving $1.8 billion.

Some of Obama’s environmental goals are lagging, though. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act dictated all new federal buildings and those undergoing major renovations had to use fossil-fuel free energy by 2030. The Energy Department has been slow to implement the rule, however, and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate is seeking to roll it back.

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