Back in October 2009, President Obama signed an order that established new targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for agencies. To learn more about the order in detail, read our report from December 21st 2009: http://www.executivegov.com/2009/12/greening-the-government/
Under the executive order, each agency came up with a pollution reduction target and submitted it to the White House early last month. However, recently this has been seen as a rather tall order.
Last Friday, Obama announced the federal government has set a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2020. This number came from the self-reported targets from each agency. The reduction in greenhouse gases aims to lower costs by moving towards clean energy, as well as reduce pollution.
As we mentioned back in December, the federal government is the country’s largest energy consumer. Due to this, if agencies are able to achieve these targets, it will save taxpayers a massive amount of dollars in energy costs (somewhere between $8 and $10 billion).
However, during a hearing this past Wednesday, officials said that meeting these targets will not be an easy task. This is due to security requirements, as well as financial restrictions.
According to GovernmentExecutive.com, Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of Defense for installations and environment, stated, “We buy Energy Star appliances, and then we disable the [conservation] features for security reasons.”
Another potential target blocker is financial restrictions – to finance the long-term energy savings is difficult because the appropriations process could take several years to show energy savings.