Knowing Where We Stand to Save Money, Improve Efficiency, Reduce Pollution, and Eliminate Waste
Last week, Federal agencies released, for the first time, their scorecards on energy and environmental performance. This marked an important milestone towards achieving the President's sustainability goals under Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. By establishing benchmarks, these scorecards help guide agencies' 2011 sustainability plans to save energy, improve the environment, and save money. Today, we mark the next milestone in this process by releasing the first-ever comprehensive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory for the Federal Government, which accounts for the GHG emissions associated with the Federal Government’s operations in 2010.
In 2010, the President announced that the Federal Government will reduce its direct emissions such as those from fuels and building energy use, by 28 percent by 2020 and will reduce its indirect emissions by 13 percent by 2020, like those from employee business travel and employee commuting. By measuring, reporting, and reducing the GHG emissions from agency operations to achieve these goals, we can save up to $11 billion dollars in energy costs over the next decade and eliminate the equivalent of cumulative 235 million barrels of oil.
Each agency has set their own GHG reduction goals and reported their agency's direct and indirect GHG inventory as part of their sustainability efforts under the President's Executive Order 13514. These goals reflect the unique mission and activities of agencies and allow us to build government-wide goals and targets with the input of each agency.
We are already seeing results from this important effort. The 2010 GHG inventory shows that the Federal Government successfully reduced GHG pollution by 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2e) from its 2008 baseline. The Federal Government's emissions totaled 66.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (MMTCO2e). By gathering and collecting this information, agencies know where they stand and the steps they must take to meet their GHG reduction goals. While we have already seen progress, there is more to do over the next 10 years to meet the President’s 2020 GHG pollution reduction goal, and these numbers provide us the necessary information to ensure the Federal Government is on track to meet this important goal.
You can't manage what you don't measure; this first-ever comprehensive GHG inventory allows agencies to leverage data to gauge the effectiveness of their renewable energy investments and their energy and fuel efficiency efforts. We look forward to receiving in June, agencies' updated Sustainability Plans that will address areas needing improvement, and expand on successes. These plans, required by EO 13514, will be posted publically on agency websites.
The idea behind the President’s Executive Order is simple: it's about promoting sustainable growth and ensuring that it has wide-spread benefits. These changes will help save the American people billions of dollars and put in place a government that is more efficient and sustainable, that cuts bureaucracy and embraces technology, and that better serves the American taxpayer. That's the government we are building each day, and that's the kind of government the American people deserve.
And to continue the Obama Administration's commitment to ensuring a transparent, responsive and interactive government, you can view the comprehensive Federal Government's GHG inventory for 2010 at http://www.data.gov/raw/4769.
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality
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