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President Obama commanded the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared with 2008 levels and to increase the use renewable energy by 30%.

US President Barack Obama endorsed an executive order that sets new targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions coming from federal agencies. According to the President’s directive, federal agencies will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2008 levels over the next decade by shifting to renewable energy sources and increasing the use of “green” electricity by 30%.

This order could allow the government to save up to $18 billion over the next ten years, and widens the goal Obama set in 2008 to cut federal emissions by 28% by 2020, which have already brought some results: since then, federal agencies have reduced emissions by 17% and increased electricity production from renewable sources from 3% to 9%.

During the last two years Obama has frequently used his presidential authority to bypass the Congress’ strong opposition on measures to tackle climate change, and the goals set with this new directive are in line with the commitments to reduce US emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 that the President made in November 2014 as part of a climate agreement with China.

Actually, this executive order by itself probably won’t influence much the President’s target to cut emissions in the country, as the federal government’s quota of greenhouse gas emissions in the US is tiny (less than 1% in 2013), but, because the federal government is the main energy user in the US economy, it is likely to influence private companies to improve their emissions-cutting plans.

Obama also disclosed an ambitious target to tackle climate change ahead of the UN Paris summit in December, and will soon release an agenda for reaching this goal.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Monday, 23 March 2015

(Source: International New York Times)