Fed Carbon Footprint: 121.3 Million Metric Tons

Source: Environmental Leader

Image from Environmental Leader

Click to enlarge. (Image from Environmental Leader)

The federal government’s 2010 “reducible” emissions totaled 66.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which is a reduction of GHG pollution by 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from its 2008 baseline.

The CEQ released the first-ever aggregate federal government and individual agency Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data report Saturday. The files, “FY 2010 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory for the Federal Government,” are split into two data sets, those government agency activities that are accountable for reduction targets, and those that are not.

The “off-the-books” total for 2010 is another 54.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions stemming from military operations, law enforcement, and other emissions not subject to reduction targets, for a total carbon footprint of 121.3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. The notable “big foot” for emissions not subject to reduction targets is the Department of Defense. DOD emitted 52.2 million metric tons of CO2e in 2010 – or 95 percent of the non-reduction totals.

Meanwhile, its share of reduction-eligible emissions is 34.4 million metric tons of CO2e – or 52 percent of the 2010 government total. This is nearly five times greater than the 2010 emissions of the US Postal Service’s 7.2 million metric tons.

The data release is mandated by the President’s sustainability goals outlined under Executive Order 13514, announced first in October 2009 and updated to less stringent targets in January 2010. The order currently states that the federal government will reduce its direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2) such as those from fuels and building energy use, by 28 percent by 2020 and will reduce its indirect emissions (Scope 3) by 13 percent by 2020.

Despite the eased targets, the CEQ currently estimates that the planned reductions across agency operations will save $11 billion dollars in energy costs over the next decade, or eliminate the equivalent of 235 million barrels of oil.

In order to reflect the different activities of the 24 federal agencies the CEQ said that each agency established its own GHG reduction goals.

To that effect, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Sustainability and Energy Scorecards were released earlier in the month, with each agency posted a scorecard – an overview of their independent progress toward targets or other reduction milestones.

The OMB scorecard assesses the agencies sustainability initiatives — energy intensity, water intensity, fleet petroleum use, GHG pollution, green building practices, and renewable energy use.

In terms of its reducible emissions, DOD is targeting a 34 percent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions, an impressive six points higher than Obama’s order. DOD has reduced energy intensity in goal-subject facilities by 11.2 percent compared with 2003, although this is not yet on track with its 15 percent target. Defense is obtaining 11.3 percent of its energy from renewable sources, but has not quite reached the 12 percent milestone needed for OMB to be on track for its 30 percent target by 2015.

Article originated at Environmental Leader