A First: US Federal Government Measures its Own Greenhouse Gas Footprint

Last week, Federal agencies released, for the first time, their scorecards on energy and environmental performance.

Setting benchmarks on performance is the first step in fulfilling President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance.  The scorecards will guide agencies’ 2011 sustainability plans to save the government money while improving its performance.

Today, the Federal Government released its first-ever comprehensive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory, which measures GHG emissions associated with its operations in 2010

In 2010, President Obama announced targets for reducing emissions for the Federal Government.

  • Reduce direct emissions such as those from fuels and buildings 28% by 2020
  • Reduce indirect emissions 13% by 2020, like those from employee business travel and employee commuting. 

It’s estimated the government will save up to $11 billion dollars in energy costs over the next decade and eliminate the equivalent of cumulative 235 million barrels of oil by meeting those targets.

Each agency has set their own GHG reduction goals and reported their agency’s direct and indirect GHG inventory. The  goals reflect the unique mission and activities of agencies and enable government-wide goals and targets with the input of each agency.
According to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the government is already seeing results. The 2010 GHG inventory shows the Federal Government reduced GHG pollution by 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2e) from its 2008 baseline. Total federal government GHG issions were 66.4 MMTCO2e.

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. 

Updated sustainability plans for all agencies are due in June and will posted publically on agency websites.

See the agency scorecards:

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