PDF _ R40974 - Executive Order 13514: Sustainability and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
3-Dec-2009; Richard Campbell, Anthony Andrews; 15 p.

Abstract: On October 5, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the federal government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a priority for federal agencies. Executive Order 13514 (EO 13514) requires federal agencies to set GHG emissions reduction targets, increase energy efficiency, reduce fleet petroleum consumption 30% by 2020, conserve water, reduce waste, support sustainable communities, and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.

Under the previous administration, EO 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy and Transportation Management, replaced five earlier executive orders addressing energy and environmental management by federal agencies, established goals, practices, and reporting requirements for environmental, energy, transportation performance, and accountability.

The terms “sustainability and sustainable” carried over from EO 13423 without a discussion of the concepts or how the concepts apply outside of the federal government. Given that EO 13423 elevated “sustainable” to a high priority, discussion of the concept may promote better solutions.

The new EO 13514 does not revoke any provision of the previous EO 13423. It does establish new goals and provisions, augments or expands many existing provisions, and extends some dates for compliance. Much of Executive Order 13514 requires the agencies to examine the environmental and social impacts of their mission, personnel, and logistical operations with regard to sustainability.

EO 13514 requires federal agencies to assess and measure their GHG footprint and submit emissions targets (within 90 days of the order). A requirement to weigh both “economic and social benefits and costs” of these targets may require further clarification as value systems may enter the solution evaluation process. Environmentally sustainable products and services are required immediately for 95% of all new procurements. The new order adds a requirement to reduce water use in federal industrial, landscaping, and agricultural applications by at least 20% from 2010 levels. The new order also increases the energy efficiency levels required of new building designs, and sets a target of zero net-energy consumption for new buildings by 2030.

EO 13514’s most significant new goal is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel use constitutes the federal government’s major source of GHG emissions. GHG emission-reduction targets may require federal agency managers to weigh the potential impacts on their agency missions, considering available technology and the timeframe needed for complying.

Conflicting priorities may emerge in implementing the goals of the new executive order. Consideration of unintended consequences and their potential impacts on the priorities of other agencies is likely to be an area of considerable focus.

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Topics: Government, Air

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