Regulation Database – Department of Defense

Department of Defense

Public Disclosure of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Reduction Goals

This final rule, proposed by the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to establish a requirement for contractors to indicate whether or not they publicly disclose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals or targets; if they do disclose such information, then it also must be posted on a publicly accessible website. This rule applies to contractors that receive more than $7.5 million in contract awards (around 2,700 in total) from the Government during the previous fiscal year, and is optional for all contractors that receive less than $7.5 million.

Importantly, this rule is not meant to regulate the industry, and thus does not mandate that these companies must report GHG emissions or have GHG emission reduction goals. Nor does this rule affect the evaluation criteria for source selection decisions, meaning it will not put companies without such public disclosure at any competitive disadvantage. Instead, the information obtained from the companies will help agencies develop strategies to engage with contractors to reduce supply chain emissions, as directed in the Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

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Minimizing the Risk of Climate Change in Federal Acquisitions

On October 15, 2021, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration—all members of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council—published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to consider ways to minimize the risk of climate change in major Federal agency procurements. The notice contemplates amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”), which is the primary regulation for use by all executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with appropriated funds. As explained in the published notice, President Biden’s Executive Order 14030 (“Climate-Related Financial Risk”) “directed the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, in consultation with the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the heads of other agencies as appropriate, to consider amending the FAR to ensure that major Federal agency procurements minimize the risk of climate change, including requiring the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions to be considered in procurement decisions and, where appropriate and feasible, giving preference to bids and proposals from suppliers with a lower social cost of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The published notice seeks public input on several questions related to how to best incorporate climate impact and risk considerations into the federal agency procurement, including through the use of the social cost of greenhouse gases. The public may submit comments until December 14, 2021.

Rule Documents:

The Great Green Fleet (GGF) is an initiative started by the former Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, as part of his ambitious goal to bring the Navy’s total use of alternative energy sources to 50% of its total energy consumption by 2020. The Great Green Fleet first sailed in 2012, with vessels powered by nuclear, and a mixture of biofuels and conventional fuels; it fully deployed in 2016, albeit with a much lower biofuel to petroleum ratio blend than the original goal. While the motivations cited for creating the GGF are mainly ones of energy independence and strategic benefits, initiatives such as the GGF nevertheless have a positive impact on climate change mitigation.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is the single largest fossil fuel consumer in the United States, taking up 80% of the federal government’s usage profile; much of the DoD’s consumption comes from operating its enormous fleet of motor vehicles, watercrafts, and aircrafts. Thus, programs that aim to reduce fossil fuel use in these areas can have a tangible, large-scale impact.

2021 Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan

On October 7, 2021, twenty-three federal agencies released plans detailing how they will adapt to climate change and increase resilience to climate change impacts. The plans include a variety of resiliency and adaptation measures, including steps to develop a more resilient supply change, to enhance protections for workers and communities, and to increase climate literacy and leadership within Federal agencies. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were previously submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget. President Biden mandated these plans in his January 27, 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense (2019)

This report responds to section 335 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Public Law 115-91). Specifically, this report provides an assessment of the significant vulnerabilities from climate-related events in order to identify high risks to mission effectiveness on installations and to operations.

Climate Working Group (2021)

On March 9, 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin sent a memorandum to Senior Pentagon Leadership to direct the establishment of the Department of Defense (DOD) Climate Working Group. The Working Group will coordinate DOD responses to climate and energy-related directives and track implementation of climate and energy-related actions and progress against future goals.