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Obama Orders Greenhouse Gas Reduction By 2020

January 30, 2010

President Barack Obama on Friday ordered the federal government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2020. The reduction is pursuant to Executive Order 13514, signed by Obama in October.

He has argued that cutting greenhouse gas emissions and framing a sustainable green economy is vital not just to protecting the planet, but also to future US economic prosperity.

The executive order will spur clean energy investments that create new private-sector jobs, drive long-term savings, build local market capacity, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy industries.

The order provides that “Federal agencies shall increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from direct and indirect activities; conserve and protect water resources through efficiency, reuse, and stormwater management; eliminate waste, recycle, and prevent pollution.”

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will be responsible for implementing the initiatives outlined in the order at the agency and departmental levels.

“As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient,” Obama said in a statement.

Greenhouse gas emissions serve as a useful metric to measure the effectiveness of agency energy and fuel efficiency efforts as well as renewable energy investments. Agencies are already taking actions that will contribute towards achieving their targets, such as installing solar arrays at military installations, tapping landfills for renewable energy, putting energy management systems in Federal buildings, and replacing older vehicles with more fuel efficient hybrid models.

The new pollution targets will cut government energy use by the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs, equal to 205 million barrels of oil or taking 17 million cars off the road for a year.

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