Obama took yet another huge step toward combating climate change. On Thursday, the president issued an executive order demanding federal agencies cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. This is just the latest move from Obama in his efforts to make the U.S. more environmentally sustainability.
The goal to cut the federal government's 2008 emission levels by 40 percent in the next decade follows suit with the historic climate agreement Obama made with China in November, pledging to decrease America's emissions between 26 and 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. The White House said these cuts could save taxpayers up to $18 billion in energy costs.
"These are ambitious goals, but we know they're achievable goals," Obama said at the energy department Thursday where he announced the order. Many of the companies that provide the government's energy, namely IBM, GE, HP, Northrup Grumman, and Honeywell, have also made individual goals to cut their emissions. Along with cutting emissions, the executive order aims to have 25 percent of federal agencies' energy come from clean energy sources by 2025. The government's cuts, along with the industry's participation, could keep as many as 26 million metric tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases out of the air.
This is not Obama's first environmentally-friendly executive order. In fact, he's been issuing them pretty frequently throughout his two terms. Here's a look at some of Obama's sustainability-driven orders.
Strategy Towards Sustainability
In 2009, Obama issued executive order 13514 which planned to establish "an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority for Federal agencies." While not doing anything drastic, this first environmentally conscious order set the stage for what was to come. Some of the concrete goals it created were to achieve a 50 percent or higher recycling rate for federal agencies by 2015 and reduce petroleum use by 2 percent every year through 2020.
Domestic Natural Gas
Executive order 13605 issued in 2012 was aimed toward reducing America's dependence on oil by increasing the country's use of domestic natural gas. The order established an interagency group to facilitate policy efforts to support natural gas development.
Impacts of Climate Change
In 2013, executive order 13653 was meant to help prepare the U.S. for the effects of climate change by creating an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience meant to reform policies that might hinder climate change preparedness and support climate resilient investments.
Climate-Resilient International Development
Obama created executive order 13677 in 2014 to encourage sustainable development by the U.S. in "vulnerable countries." This order established the Working Group on Climate-Resilient International Development to create guidelines for climate change considerations into agency plans, programs, projects, and investments overseas.
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