The President’s Climate Action Plan, issued June 25, 2013, outlines numerous initiatives to address global climate change. One of the plan’s most ambitious goals is that the federal government will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, more than doubling the current target of 7.5 percent.
A report released June 27 by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), a successor organization to the nonprofit Pew Center on Global Climate Change, references the new Plan and discusses ways that federal agencies can reduce their carbon emissions through existing information and communication technologies (ICT). The report is available at http://www.c2es.org/publications/leading-by-example-2-how-ict-help-achieve-federal-sustainability. C2ES estimates that the federal government accounts for 1.8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and is the “nation’s largest landlord, employer, fleet operator, and purchaser of goods and services.” In C2ES’s view, substantial reductions can be achieved through such ICT practices as:
- Expanding use of telework, teleconferencing, and e-training as substitutes for travel;
- Installing more energy meters, building sensors, and energy management systems;
- Consolidating data centers and shifting information technology systems to the cloud;
- Strengthening the “Smart Grid,” by integrating renewables into the grid, real-time pricing, and reductions in transmission and distribution losses;
- Increasing the number of “Smart Buildings”—by facilitating advanced-design building to enhance energy efficiency, sensors, and building energy management systems;
- Enhancing logistics (such as GPS systems) for more efficient utilization of commercial and personal vehicles.
The report includes a useful compendium of key federal programs and statistics about the federal government’s energy usage.