Biden Signs Executive Order to Curve Trajectory of Climate Change

Laura Pohl, Staff Writer

Climate change is never a topic on the forefront of people’s minds. Yes, the temperatures are rising, there are wildfires in California and Australia and the icebergs are melting. A more immediate issue is always at hand–until it is not. Realizing this, President Joe Biden decided to take action. Biden signed an executive order with ambitious goals to lead the way into a more sustainable world. 

The executive order detailed specific objectives, focused on the federal government, to show how the rest of the country can also build, buy, travel and use electricity in a sustainable manner. Since the federal government is the largest electricity consumer in the country, Biden aims for the federal government to be 100% carbon pollution free when supplying electricity by 2030. Therefore, all electricity the federal government consumes will be clean energy such as wind, solar, hydro or nuclear power. In addition, the executive order states that half of that energy should be supplied locally to meet daily electricity demands. 

Another sizable contributor to carbon emissions are vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, so by 2035 only zero emission vehicles will be allowed to be bought by the federal government. To do this, government positions such as park police in Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco are beginning to transition to electric vehicles. 

Along with buying electric cars, the order also states that by 2050 there will be net zero emissions from federal purchases. One action being taken in 2022 is the General Services Administration will require contractors to disclose greenhouse gas emissions in building materials from harvesting, manufacturing and transporting those materials. This information allows the federal government to track how much carbon is being emitted and consider low emission materials when purchasing products. In addition, the construction of any new government buildings should produce no carbon emissions by the year 2045. Currently, the Department of Defense is collecting data on housing and urban development to determine the best solution to achieve net zero emissions for any new infrastructure. 

By implementing this executive order and taking action, it is Biden’s goal that carbon emissions in federal operations would be reduced 65% by 2030 and overall federal operations should be net zero by 2050. In other words, everything that is happening within the federal government to keep it running and earning money should be run off renewable energy to make these operations sustainable. With these major steps in addressing climate threats, Biden is setting an example on both the internal and international level for combating climate change. If others decide to follow suit, the result could be a drastic drop in emissions, creating a positive lasting impact on our world.