Obama to sign executive order on federal contribution to warming 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2015

President Obama is set to sign an executive order today directing federal agencies to cut the carbon intensity of their operations, a White House official said last night.

The federal carbon commitment will be released together with new emissions reduction pledges from “several major federal suppliers,” the official added. Details of the action will be released this morning, and White House adviser Brian Deese is scheduled to brief reporters.

Following the White House signing, Obama will tour the Energy Department’s rooftop solar panels and attend a roundtable with federal suppliers on greenhouse gas mitigation. That event will include “first-ever corporate commitments to disclose emissions or set new reduction goals” from some companies that do business with the federal government, the official said.

The executive order comes as the clock winds down to a high-stakes round of U.N. climate talks in Paris this December aimed at producing a global emissions deal.

Obama has said the U.S. contribution to that deal will be part of his legacy on climate change. In an interview earlier in the week with the website VICE, Obama said the emissions deal he unveiled last year with Chinese President Xi Jinping would “leverage the entire world,” putting a global agreement more within reach (E&E Daily, March 16).

The White House is expected to release more details on the U.S. pledge — a commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 — by the end of this month.

Observers expect the U.S. submission to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to include few new details about upcoming regulations for CO2 and methane but to discuss the effect of land-use changes on atmospheric carbon. Federal efficiency initiatives like the one released today may also figure in the document.