Obama Nominates New Energy Secretary, New EPA AdministratorToday President Obama singed an executive order regarding federal government energy targets, he toured a solar panel installation on the Department of Energy’s roof and gave some brief remarks before kicking off a roundtable with large US companies that do over $1 billion in business with the federal government. These companies are all making significant GHG emissions reduction and renewable energy use commitments.

After joking around a bit with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the president explained the executive order’s two major components.

“This morning I signed an executive order to do two things. First, we are going to cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions 40% from 2008 levels within the next 10 years,”…and “we are going to Increase the share of electricity the federal government uses from renewable sources by 30% within the next 10 years.”

This is the latest move by the administration to take action on energy and climate change in a manner that bypasses the Republican-controlled congress on these issues. The main example of this strategy to date is the Clean Power Plan which uses EPA authority to cut GHG emissions from existing power plants. The Clean Power Plan faces steep opposition and its implementation remains in question.

The companies involved in today’s round table include IBM, GE, Honeywell, SRA International, Humana, CSC, AECOM, SAIC, HP, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies, CH2MHill, ADS Inc, and Battelle.

These firms “together account for about $45 billion in Federal contract spending. Combined, they bring a total GHG reduction commitment of 5 million metric tons between 2008 and 2020…,” according to the White House.

The Natural Resources Defense Council applauded the effort and NRDC president Rhea Suh issued the following statement:

“’The executive order demonstrates President Obama’s continuing leadership in combating dangerous climate change. It’s also a powerful reminder of how much progress we can make simply through energy efficiency and greater reliance on clean, renewable sources of energy.”

Additional information, along with the specific commitments being made on behalf of the above-mentioned companies can be found in this White House fact sheet.