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February 02, 2010
Obama Announces Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets for Federal Agencies
    by Robert Kropp

Following his October Executive Order directing Federal agencies to set reduction targets, Obama announces that the Federal Government will reduce GHG emissions by 28% by 2020.

In October, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514, directing Federal agencies to “establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a priority for Federal agencies.” The Executive Order required that within 90 days, Federal agencies set reduction targets of scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by fiscal year 2020, relative to a 2008 baseline.

On January 29, Obama announced that the Federal Government will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 28% by 2020. Achieving the Federal GHG pollution reduction targets will lead to the reduction of $8 to $11 billion in avoided energy costs through 2020.

Announcing the new reduction targets, Obama said, “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. Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy.”

Reductions will be achieved by measuring current energy and fuel use, increasing energy efficiency, and transitioning from traditional fuel sources to clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal. Along with such initiatives as those included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), and the recent investment by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in Energy Innovation Hubs to accelerate clean energy research and development, implementation of the targets can be expected to increase private investment in renewable energy technologies.

In Copenhagen in December, the Obama administration committed to a 17% decrease in GHG emissions by the US by 2020, but the commitment awaits passage by the Senate of the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733) to gain the force of law.

In a further acknowledgement of the difficulties Obama is facing with Congress, his administration’s new budget, announced on February 1, has dropped a forecast of revenues of $646 billion from a cap-and-trade system of carbon pricing that was included in last year’s budget.


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