President Biden Signs Executive Order on Federal Sustainability

On December 8, 2021, President Biden signed his “Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability,” directing the federal government to use its procurement power to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The executive order focuses on five primary goals:

“• 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand;

• 100 percent zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027;

• Net-zero emissions from federal procurement no later than 2050, including a Buy Clean policy to promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions;

• A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2032; and

• Net-zero emissions from overall federal operations by 2050, including a 65 percent emissions reduction by 2030.”

The executive order directs the heads of principal agencies to develop and implement annual Sustainability Plans, based on annual guidance provided by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). It also establishes an Office of the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer within CEQ.