On January 29, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that by the year 2020, the federal government will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent over 2008 levels. 

President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability on October 8, 2009, which required federal agencies to submit a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.  The Executive Order stated that the federal government must lead by example and that federal agencies must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to create an economy based on clean energy.  The President set out specific, measurable goals for federal agencies, which included reporting a percentage reduction target for agency-wide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions within 90 days of the Executive Order.  The total reductions target announced in January is the aggregate of 35 federal agency targets reported pursuant to the October order.

The federal government is the largest energy consumer in the United States and spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008.  The President’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions plan will enable the federal government to cut energy use by 205 million barrels of oil and gain savings between 8 and 11 billion dollars by 2020.

Under the President’s plan, federal agencies will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using clean energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy.  Additionally, federal agencies will achieve the reductions by: (1) reducing energy intensity in buildings (2) increasing the use of renewable energy and implementing onsite renewable energy generation projects; and (3) reducing the use of fossil fuels by using alternative fuel vehicles and reducing the number of vehicles operated by the individual agency.  The Executive Order also provided specific guidelines to federal agencies on energy efficient building design, pollution prevention and waste elimination. 

The Office of Management and Budget will evaluate and rate each agency’s sustainability plan and report the annual progress to the public online.

A copy of the Executive Order from October 8, 2009 can be found at: