That’s right, the US government is “the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy.” In 2008 alone, it spent $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel.
This 28% reduction target Obama is ordering is equivalent to $8-11 billion in avoided energy costs. Additionally, it is far beyond the 17% reduction Obama has pledged to the international community for the US as whole, making the US government a leader by example on this issue.
“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,” said President Obama. “Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy.”
As discussed previously, addiction our to foreign oil results in a major paycheck to other economies and concern for our own national security.
As the White House aptly points out, cutting US government emissions is a big plus for the economy as well as the environment. “Actions taken under this 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.” This US government pledge is actually the result of that.
The target Obama announced was based on the aggregate self-reported target of 35 Federal Agencies. On October 5th of last year, Obama ordered that every Federal Agency submit a “2020 GHG pollution reduction target from its estimated 2008 baseline to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget by January 4, 2010.”
Examples of federal actions to achieve this reduction are on the White House Council on Environmental Quality website.
For some more numbers, if you are interested, this reduction is equal to cutting 205 million barrels of oil, 646 trillion BTUs, or 17 million cars on the road.
Importanly for me, and those who want an open democracy, the White House reports: “To ensure accountability, annual progress will be measured and reported online to the public.” Keep track of the changes yourself.
Great step by Obama and the federal government. Kudos to you!
Image Credit: jcolman via flickr under a CC license