Monday, 02 May 2011 15:11

Federal Government Reports on its Hefty Carbon Footprint

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If Carbonfund.org had a tree for every time we said reducing your carbon footprint saves you money, we'd have, well, perhaps a very sizable forest. In these times of federal budget woe, how appropriate is it that the government is wising up and realizing that more efficient energy can save them 11 billion dollars going forward, or the equivalent of 235 million barrels of oil? The federal government's carbon footprint is 121.3 million metric tons, according to a report released by The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). That number is divided into two categories - reducible emissions and that which shall not be touched, which includes military operations, law enforcement and other emissions. Of the 121.3 million, 54.9 million come from this category, with the Department of Defense toting a disproportionately large footprint of 52.2 million metric tons of emissions on its own in 2010. That's 95% of all the non-reducible emissions. Meanwhile, the reducible emissions have dropped 2.5 million metric tons from the 2008 baseline to 66.4 million metric tons. That 2.5 million is equivalent to the annual emissions from 490,196 cars, which is great, but come on government. We can do better than this. According to the president's sustainability goals, the federal government will reduce its direct emissions (things like fuel or building energy use) by 28% and its indirect emissions (energy used in the lifecycle of things we buy and use) by 13% by 2020. This is where the CEQ estimates that planned reductions will save $11 billion in energy costs. Are you happy with the progress, or do you think these are some empty green promises?
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