Dec 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.
President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.

By the numbers: The order requires the government to run entirely on carbon-free electricity by 2030, reduce its emissions by 65% by 2030 and finally attain net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • It also orders the government to stop buying gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and create a net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045.

Yes, but: They are ambitious goals but are stipulated by an executive order, which can easily be undone by future administrations.

What they're saying: "The President is building on his whole-of-government effort to tackle the climate crisis in a way that creates well-paying jobs, grows industries, and makes the country more economically competitive," the White House wrote in a news release.

The big picture: The order comes on the heels of the United Nations COP26 climate summit, at which the U.S. pledged to help halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 and end public financing of overseas oil, gas and coal projects by the end of 2022.

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