Obama tells government to set climate standards

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama ordered the US government Monday to lead by example on climate change, requiring all federal agencies to set 2020 targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions within 90 days.
Obama also told agencies to increase energy efficiency, cut gasoline consumption by official vehicles and to save water and reduce waste, in moves which he said would save money and help cleanse the environment.

Obama tells government to set climate standards
"As the largest consumer of energy in the US economy, the federal government can and should lead by example," Obama said in a statement.
The president earlier signed an executive order containing the new standards to be adopted as part of the administration's wider attempt to build a clean energy economy.
Under the new rules, agencies must meet a string of targets for energy efficiency and waste reduction.
By 2020, federal departments must cut the consumption of fuel by their official fleets by 30 percent and show a 26 percent improvement in water use efficiency.
By 2015, agencies must recycle 50 percent of waste, or divert it away from landfill projects, the order said.
US government buildings will also have to meet new emissions and sustainability standards, the order said.
Obama has argued that cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and framing a sustainable green economy is vital not just to protecting the planet, but to future US economic prosperity.
Several pieces of legislation backed by his administration -- including the mammoth 787 billion dollar stimulus plan -- provide incentives for governments and private firms to build the green economy.
Obama reversed previous US skepticism on climate change shown by the administration of George W. Bush and has vowed to push for a global climate deal at major UN talks in Denmark later this December.
But he still faces major domestic political constraints, not least due to fears that tackling climate change will hinder economic recovery.
Hopes for a leading US role in world climate change efforts have been dampened by indications that the Democratic-controlled Congress will not pass major legislation on the issue by the end of the year.

Monday, October 5th 2009

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