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Obama announces new government goal for reducing greenhouse gases: 28% by 2020


President Obama announced this morning he was putting the government on a low carbon diet.  Through a series of initiatives, he hopes to decrease energy consumption through efficiency and switching to alternative energy that is less carbon intensive.

As the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy, the Federal Government spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008 alone.  Achieving the Federal GHG pollution reduction target will reduce Federal energy use by the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs, equal to 205 million barrels of oil, and taking 17 million cars off the road for one year.  This is also equivalent to a cumulative total of $8 to $11 billion in avoided energy costs through 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,” said President Obama.  “Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy.”

Fun fact 1: The US government uses approximately as much energy as the entire country of Austria.

Fun Fact 2: Similar initiatives made by states have netted huge results.  The state government of Utah, led by governor Jon Huntsman (who Obama named ambassador to China, you may remember), invested $1.5 million in energy efficiency for government agencies expecting a 10 year payback. They made it back in 3– and now they save over half a million dollars in energy costs a year.  Efficiency is an economy of scale– and I’m willing to be the entire government of Utah would not even fill in one of the large federal agency buildings around DC.

Fun Fact 3: Texas has its own “No Regrets” greenhouse gas reduction strategy in accordance with the passage of SB 184, which Public Citizen supported: don’t forget that Sunday is the last day to submit your energy efficiency ideas to  the state comptroller’s office.  For more info see:

I think this is a domestic spending freeze everyone can get behind.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/03/2010 8:06 pm

    I like fun fact #2 – that it only took them one third of the time to get their money back from energy efficiency. You are right the economy of scales makes a big difference.

    Usually Government struggles to get their money back in other areas. Energy seems to be one of their better spending choices.

    Personally I’d like to see a large scale investment in wind.

  2. 05/13/2010 3:24 pm

    This proposed bill has come at either a very bad time or a very good time. It is bad because it will pursue the acquisition of more fossil fuels with the attendant dangers like we are currently experiencing in the gulf and deaths in large numbers in coal mining, which claims the lives of hundreds of mines every year, frequently by disregard of the need to suppress methane gas and supply more fresh air to miners. And let’s get serious. Coal and oil are dirty polluters and are slowly putting our planet in dire straits from which there is no recovery.

    The breakdown of the gulf well should give us pause and then a dedicated program to attack the means to switch every possible energy need to hydrogen at all cost should be initiated. The oil and coal people will fight this to the end, but the end has to come. Oil will still be needed for lubrication purposes, but that will use less than one percent of what is taken out of the earth each day at present. Hydrogen use CAN become a reality. Desperation is the mother of invention, and hydrogen use CAN be substituted with hard research and a will to get that job done.

    As the old slogan goes: Someday, why not now?


  1. Obama announces new government goal for reducing greenhouse gases: 28% by 2020 « TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas

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