The Federal Government and Sustainability
Updated: Jun 15
The Federal Government has been pursuing strategies to improve resilience to the effects of the changing climate and is using its scale and procurement power to achieve this.
An Executive Order was signed by President Biden in December of 2021 that states: “The Federal Government will lead by example to achieve a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy-wide no later than 2050.”
Some of the goals of the Executive Order include: 100% carbon pollution-free electricity on a net annual basis by 2030, including 50% 24/7 carbon pollution-free electricity
100% zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, including 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027
A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50% emissions reduction by 2032
65% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions from Federal operations by 2030 from 2008 levels
Net-zero emissions from Federal procurement, including Buy Clean policy to promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions
Climate-resilient infrastructure and operations A climate and sustainability-focused Federal workforce
What is carbon pollution-free electricity?
When energy sources are labeled carbon-free, the energy is produced by a resource that generates no carbon emissions. Renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and large hydroelectric are examples of carbon-free energy sources that can provide electricity.
What is a zero-emission vehicle?
Examples of zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, are electric (battery-powered) cars, electric trains, and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Technically, any mode of transportation that produce absolutely no harmful pollutants, primarily carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.
What is a net-zero emissions building?
A net-zero emissions building is designed and equipped so that all its energy use on an annual basis for heating, cooling, lighting, appliances, vehicle charging, etc. is highly efficient and comes only from renewable (non-CO2emitting) energy sources.
What are greenhouse gases?
Greenhouse gases, or GHGs, are compound gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and make the Earth’s surface warmer. Human activities are the main source of GHGs. The burning of fossil fuel, deforestation intensive livestock farming, the use of synthetic fertilizers, and industrial processes all contribute.
What is Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions?
Emissions are broken down into categories by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol to better understand the source. Scope 1 GHG emissions are direct emissions from the activities of an organization or under their control, they include fuel combustion on site such as gas boilers, fleet vehicles and air-conditioning leaks. Scope 2 GHG emissions are indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organization, they are created during the production of the energy and eventually used by the organization.
What are embodied emissions?
Embodied emissions are all greenhouse gas emissions that are released as part of making a product or service ready for consumption or use.
What is climate-resilient infrastructure?
Climate-resilient infrastructure is planned, designed, built, and operated in a way that anticipates, prepares for, and adapts to changing climate conditions. It can also withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions caused by these climate conditions.
The actions taken by the Federal Government will not only protect the environment but will also drive innovation, encourage private sector investment, create new economic opportunities, and improve public infrastructure.