Steven Cohen on the Significance of Obama’s Latest Climate Change Move

In The Huffington Post, M.S. in Sustainability Management director Steven Cohen details Obama’s recent response to climate change – new limits on the federal government’s own energy consumption.

In “The Emergence and Importance of President Obama's Climate Policy,” Cohen writes, “In a quiet and low-key move last week, President Obama took what may turn out to be one of the most significant steps he has ever taken to reduce greenhouse emissions. [According to The New York Times,] the president signed an executive order directing ‘federal agencies over the next decade to cut their emissions by an average of 40 percent compared with their levels when he won office in 2008, and to increase their use of electricity from renewable sources by 30 percent.’”

The New York Times had reported that “the federal government is the largest user of energy in the United States economy -- encompassing 360,000 buildings, 650,000 fleet vehicles and $445 billion in annual spending on goods and services.”

Cohen says, “This change in government's own operations begins to resemble a meaningful federal climate policy. At long last, the slow and lumbering machine of the federal government is finally approaching the starting gate on climate policy. This is an important step forward and, in my view, better late than never.”

Cohen looks at the broader implications of these new restraints on the U.S. government’s carbon footprint: “The president's executive order is less controversial than EPA's greenhouse gas regulations because it does not require private firms to adhere to federal dictates. However, it will have an important influence on private firms seeking to do business with the federal government.”

Read the rest of Prof. Cohen’s article in The Huffington Post.