Feds ordered to cut pollution from travel, commuting

White House issues new targets for federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gases from indirect sources.

President Obama on Tuesday ordered federal agencies to cut greenhouse gas pollution from indirect sources, such as emissions resulting from travel and commuting, by 13 percent during the next decade.

In January the Obama administration set the goal for decreasing pollution from direct sources, such as those emitted by federal buildings and government-owned vehicles, by 28 percent by 2020.

"Cumulatively, greenhouse gas pollution reductions from federal government operations will total 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the emissions from 235 million barrels of oil," the White House said in its announcement.

The announcement provided no detail about the steps agencies are to take to achieve the new target for cutting indirect energy consumption and administration officials could not be reached immediately for comment. In June, agencies were required to submit plans for meeting the direct-source pollution targets to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Obama called for federal agencies to take aggressive actions to cut pollution last fall when he issued Executive Order 13514. The order required the federal government to set the example in moving the nation toward a clean energy economy.

With its fleet of 600,000 vehicles and an inventory of more than 500,000 buildings, the federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the United States.