Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Government to set global warming example: Obama

AP , WASHINGTON

US President Barack Obama wants the federal government to set an example when it comes to global warming.

In an executive order signed on Monday, Obama required all agencies to do what he wants companies operating power plants, refineries and making automobiles to do: reduce heat-trapping gases.

Each federal agency will have to set the first targets for reducing climate-altering pollution from its buildings, fleets and workers’ commutes.

The agencies will have 90 days to tell the White House how much they plan to measure and reduce greenhouse gases from buildings and vehicles by 2020. Targets for employees’ commutes and travel will be due by next June.

“As the largest consumer of energy in the US economy, the federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Obama said in a statement.

The government mandate comes as the Obama administration takes steps to require automakers and large industrial facilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a way for the White House to show much-needed progress toward reducing greenhouse gases before more than 180 nations meet in Copenhagen in December to hammer out a new international treaty to slow global warming.

Obama wants Congress to pass a bill setting mandatory limits, but its passage is unlikely in the Senate before the Copenhagen negotiations begin. The Senate bill would require refineries, factories and power plants to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2020 and roughly 80 percent by mid-century.

It was unclear how deep the targets would be for the federal government, or how much of a dent it would make in total US greenhouse gas emissions.

The order also compels agencies to curb petroleum use, conserve water and curtail waste — extending and expanding on an executive order issued by former president George W. Bush in January 2007 that became law earlier this year.

Bush’s order, unlike Obama’s, did not require agencies to set emissions targets.

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