Obama Orders Agencies to Set 2020 Emissions Goals

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday ordering federal agencies to set goals within 90 days for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The order "challenges agencies to lead by example," according to a White House blog posted by Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Sutley writes that the purchasing power of the federal government–some $500 billion annually for goods and services–will further boost the effect of Recovery Act spending.

The executive order also included measures such as improving water efficiency, cutting petroleum use and increasing recycling rate, according to a Reuters report.

With hopes dimming for the passage of a U.S. climate change bill, the Obama Administration seems to be leveraging all of its executive authority to boost its envrionmental credibility before the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. Last week, the administration took another step towards the possibility of regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, when the EPA announced a proposed rule change that would clear the way for emissions requirements on heavy polluters.

"The federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies," Obama said in a statement.

In Related News…

President Obama’s top climate and energy official Carol M. Browner said there is virtually no chance Congress will have a climate and energy bill ready for him to sign before negotiations on a global climate treaty begin in December in Copenhagen.

Read the New York Times report below.

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