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Obama orders federal government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama on Friday ordered the federal government to reduce [press release] its greenhouse gas emissions [JURIST news archive] by 28 percent by 2020. The reduction is pursuant to Executive Order 13514 [text, PDF], signed by Obama in October. The order provides, in part:

It is therefore the policy of the United States that Federal agencies shall increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from direct and indirect activities; conserve and protect water resources through efficiency, reuse, and stormwater management; eliminate waste, recycle, and prevent pollution; leverage agency acquisitions to foster markets for sustainable technologies and environmentally preferable materials, products, and services; design, construct, maintain, and operate high performance sustainable buildings in sustainable locations; strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which Federal facilities are located; and inform Federal employees about and involve them in the achievement of these goals.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) [official website] will be responsible for implementing the initiatives outlined in the order at the agency and departmental levels.

Obama's announcement comes a month after the UN Climate Change Conference [official website] in Copenhagen. Although the conference failed to produce any legally binding resolution [JURIST report], 192 countries, including the US, agreed to "take note" of the non-binding Cophenhagen Accord [text, PDF]. Climate change [JURIST archive] has been a central policy concern of the Obama administration since taking office. Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] announced a finding that greenhouse gases threaten [JURIST report] public health and the environment.

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