BREAKING NEWS: Biden will sign executive order to make the federal government carbon neutral by 2050: Will spend billions on fleet of electric vehicles and upgrade buildings
- Biden wants to cut US government’s carbon emissions by 65% by 2030
- All small-scale federal vehicles will have to be electric by 2027
- He’s also making a new role within the federal government to oversee changes
President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order putting the United States government on a path toward being carbon neutral by 2050.
The order would leverage the government’s buying power to spend billions of dollars cutting carbon emissions by 65 percent by 2030, among other reforms to make the federal vehicle fleet and government-owned properties more energy efficient.
‘As the single largest land owner, energy consumer, and employer in the Nation, the Federal Government can catalyze private sector investment and expand the economy and American industry by transforming how we build, buy, and manage electricity, vehicles, buildings, and other operations to be clean and sustainable,’ Biden stated in his executive order memorandum.
It expands on an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015 that set a goal of cutting the federal government’s carbon emissions by 40 percent over a decade.
The order directs that government buildings use 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030; that the U.S. fleet of cars and trucks become all-electric by 2035; and that federal contracts for goods and services be carbon-free by 2050.
Biden’s executive order directs that government buildings use 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030
To help generate locally-sourced clean electricity, Biden ordered federal agencies to use their existing property assets – roofs, parking garages, extra land – as space to build renewable energy sources.
The executive order also reportedly accounts for delays caused by computer chip shortages, the time it takes to install more charging stations and creation of specialized government vehicles.
In it, Biden reportedly calls for the US government to stop buying passenger cars that run on gas by 2027 but gives the entire federal vehicle fleet eight more years to catch up.
Money could also cause some delay – while Biden allocated $7.5 billion toward expanding electric vehicle infrastructure in his $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill last month, federal agencies will have to figure out how to maneuver their budgets for the rest.
And with negotiations between the government and prospective sellers sure to move slowly, Biden runs the risk of spending federal dollars on technology that will be obsolete by the time a deal is completed.
Currently Washington is in possession of roughly 600,000 vehicles of different types.
The White House said the order shows how the government will ‘leverage its scale and procurement power to lead by example in tackling the climate crisis.’
‘It doesn’t tell the private sector entities what to do, but to some extent it will demand a certain kind of good and service so companies can shift what’s being made,’ Duke University Law Professor Sarah Bloom Raskin explained to the Post.
Biden is also ordering the government to drastically overhaul the 300,000 properties owned or leased by Washington and make them carbon-neutral by 2045.
That includes a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2032.
The government would renovate existing buildings to increase water and energy efficiency, reduce waste and work to find sustainable locations for all future federally owned and managed properties ‘to strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which federal facilities are located,’ the White House stated.
The president also directed the White House Council on Environmental Quality to create the first-ever federal standard to ensure both old and new properties are on a path toward carbon neutrality.
For new buildings, the government would begin weighing them against a Buy Clean standard to encourage green construction.
The executive action is a part of Biden’s commitment to support the growth of clean energy and clean technology industries, while accelerating US progress toward achieving a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035, the White House said.
‘The United States government will lead by example to provide a strong foundation for American businesses to compete and win globally in the clean energy economy while creating well-paying, union jobs at home,’ the White House said in a statement.