U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the federal government to promote greener employee commuting habits, reduced business travel and other measures to scale back indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by 2020.
The indirect emissions reduction target goes beyond what the President previously committed for direct sources: a 28 percent reduction by 2020, based on 2008 levels. Combined, the reduction in emissions would be equivalent to the 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The U.S. government spent $24.5 billion on fuel and energy in 2008.
“Every year, the Federal Government consumes more energy than any other single organization or company in the United States,” President Obama said in a statement Wednesday. “That energy goes towards lighting and heating government buildings, fueling vehicles and powering federal projects across the country and around the world. The government has a responsibility to use that energy wisely, to reduce consumption, improve efficiency, use renewable energy, like wind and solar, and cut costs.”
Expanding bicycle commuting and using more renewable energy sources are some of the initiatives the government is adding to each agency’s annual sustainability plan. The Washington Post reported the government will also lower indirect emissions by expanding recycling programs and locating future offices near mass transit systems.
Under a House bill passed last week, agencies would appoint telework managers to develop policies that promote teleworking, which, in addition to avoided emissions, could save the government millions of dollars in lost productivity during extreme weather.