The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Obama Executive Order Calls For Federal Government to Triple Use of Renewable Energy in 7 Years
President Barack Obama believes it's time for federal agencies to use more renewable energy—nearly three times the amount they're already deploying.
The president issued a memorandum today ordering a boost in solar, wind and other technologies to 20 percent by 2020.
"In order to create a clean energy economy that will increase our nation's prosperity, promote energy security, combat climate change, protect the interests of taxpayers, and safeguard the health of our environment, the federal government must lead by example," the memorandum reads.
Obama laid out the route to 20 percent usage like this:
- 2015: At least 10 percent
- 2016-17: At least 15 percent
- 2018-19: At least 17.5 percent
The seven-page document also calls for updates to building performances and energy management practices through the use of the Green Button data access system and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
Obama said federal agencies are already on their way to meeting sustainability standards he set in 2009, but the new target will inspire more clean energy "to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable." He said those agencies have reduced their annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent for a total of 7.8 million metric tons. That figure is equivalent to taking 1.5 million cars from the road.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) applauded Obama's action, declaring it a landmark moment in U.S. history.
"From an environmental perspective, few things threaten our nation’s future prosperity and way of life more than climate change," SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch said. "That’s why it’s so important for the federal government to lead by example.
"We applaud President Obama for standing firm and following through on a key commitment he made as part of his Climate Action Plan."
SEIA hopes this is a sign that legislators will work to level the playing field for renewables and fossil fuels.
"Moving forward, we also encourage the Administration to develop a modern procurement process that allows solar to compete evenly with fossil fuels," Resch said. "Federal agencies should have the authority to adopt long-term power purchase agreements in order to maximize savings for U.S. taxpayers.
"Today’s outdated system discourages the same power purchases for federal facilities that successful companies like Walmart, Costco and Apple use to save money by going solar.”
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."