President Joe Biden signed an executive order that will move the government to a carbon neutral by 2050, mostly by having the United States leverage its scale and procurement power to lead by example in tackling the climate crisis. The White House says the executive order “will reduce emissions across federal operations, invest in American clean energy industries and manufacturing, and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities.”
Through this executive order, the federal government will transform its portfolio of 300,000 buildings, fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks, and annual purchasing power of $650 billion in goods and services to:
- Transition federal infrastructure to zero-emission vehicles and buildings powered by carbon pollution-free electricity, which will reduce the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Make federal agencies more adaptive and resilient to the impacts of climate change, and increase the sustainability of federal supply chains, achieving net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050.
- Mainstream sustainability within the federal workforce, advance equity and environmental justice, and leverage partnerships to accelerate progress.
The President’s executive order directs the federal government to use its scale and procurement power to achieve five ambitious goals:
- 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand;
- 100 percent zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027;
- Net-zero emissions from federal procurement no later than 2050, including a Buy Clean policy to promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions;
- A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2032; and
- Net-zero emissions from overall federal operations by 2050, including a 65 percent emissions reduction by 2030.
In addition to those five new commitments, President Biden also directed the federal government to orient its procurement and operations efforts in line with the following principles and goals:
- Achieving climate resilient infrastructure and operations;
- Building a climate- and sustainability-focused workforce;
- Advancing environmental justice and equity;
- Prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products, such as products without added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); and
- Accelerating progress through domestic and international partnerships.