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Obama pledges to reduce government emissions 28% by 2020

The U.S. government aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2020 under an order announced Friday by President Obama.

“As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient,” Obama said in a statement. “Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift federal energy expenses away from oil and toward local, clean energy.”

The government is the largest single energy consumer in the United States, spending $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008. The cuts—which the White House said would be achieved through efficiency and shifting to clean, renewable energy sources—would reduce federal energy use by “the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs, equal to 205 million barrels of oil, and taking 17 million cars off the road for one year.” The plan would avoid $8-11 billion in avoided energy costs through 2020.

It was not immediately clear whether the order would apply to the military, the largest single source greenhouse emitter on the planet. The military is presently exempt from reporting overseas emissions, but directly uses about 120 million barrels of oil a year.

Last year Obama pledged the United States to reduce pledged carbon emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, representing a 4 percent cut from 1990 levels.

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