Federal Government To Go Carbon Neutral By 2050

Federal Government To Go Carbon Neutral By 2050

The US federal government is headed for carbon neutrality by 2050 following an executive order signed by President Biden Wednesday. The order instructs federal agencies to follow steps to hit the net zero target in less than 30 years. Right now, only 40% of the federal government runs on renewable energy, a number that should hit 100% by 2030, according to the new order. Another goal: buy only emissions-free vehicles by 2035, a huge leap for the federal car fleet, which right now is almost entirely gas powered.

Why This Matters

Given that the government is the single biggest landowner, employer, and energy consumer in the country, this target has a systemic impact on US emissions. The national government also has a $650 billion spending budget for goods and services that influences what gets developed, and its cost. By addressing its own energy use and sourcing, the federal government will "lead by example in tackling the climate crisis", according to a White House statement.

From The Order

The executive order takes a holistic approach:

Through a whole-of-government approach, we will demonstrate how innovation and environmental stewardship can protect our planet, safeguard federal investments against the effects of climate change, respond to the needs of all of America’s communities, and expand American technologies, industries, and jobs.

Timeline For Transition

Like many 2050 goals, this one is made more achievable by intermediary steps in between. So far, these are the benchmarks:

  • 2030: 100% of government buildings and vehicles will by powered by renewable energy, like solar and wind.
  • 2032: Federal building operations like heating cut their emissions in half.
  • 2035: All government vehicle purchases must be zero-emission -- the fleet is currently around 600,000 cars, trucks, and vans.
  • 2045: Greenhouse gas emissions are eliminated from all federal buildings.
  • 2050: US government achieves carbon neutrality.