Obama orders US govt departments to cut greenhouse gas emissions
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Government departments and agencies were told by the White House to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 28% by 2020. The US government is the biggest energy consumer in the country, it spent more than 24.5 billion dollars on electricity and fuel in 2008.
AFP - The White House announced Friday that President Barack Obama would order the US federal government to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by 28 percent by 2020.
"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," Obama said in a statement.
"Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution and shift federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy."
Government departments and agencies will achieve greenhouse gas pollution cuts by measuring current energy and fuel use, becoming more energy efficient and shifting to clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal.
The US government is the most energy thirsty component in the US economy and spent more than 24.5 billion dollars on electricity and fuel in 2008 alone, the White House said.
The new pollution targets will cut government energy use by the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs, equal to 205 million barrels of oil or taking 17 million cars off the road for a year.
This is also equivalent to a cumulative total of 8 to 11 billion in avoided energy costs through 2020, according to the White House.
Obama issued an executive order in October requiring agencies to set 2020 targets and to increase energy efficiency, cut gasoline consumption by official vehicles and to save water and reduce waste, in moves which he said would save money and help cleanse the environment.
He has argued that cutting greenhouse gas emissions and framing a sustainable green economy is vital not just to protecting the planet, but also to future US economic prosperity.
Several pieces of legislation backed by his administration -- including the mammoth 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus package -- provide incentives for governments and private firms to build a green economy.
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