KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Joe Biden is aiming to leverage the federal government’s massive buying power to jump-start the market for clean energy, electric vehicles and more efficient buildings.
In an executive order he Biden Wednesday, Biden set new goals for the government to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent by the end of this decade and to zero out federal emissions by 2050.
The order puts the U.S. in line with global targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century, which scientists say is needed to reduce the effects of climate change.
Biden’s order also establishes a “Buy Clean” policy, directing the federal government to use lower-emissions construction materials. It calls for the government to use 100 percent clean electricity by 2030.
“The executive order will reduce emissions across federal operations, invest in American clean energy industries and manufacturing, and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities,” the White House said.
Biden was visiting a transportation center in Kansas City on Wednesday, the latest stop of a tour to promote the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law.
After he toured the transit depot, Biden cast a spotlight on how commuters and people who rely on buses, trains and ferries will benefit from $39 billion in new funding to modernize public transit.
The order is the Biden administration's latest effort to speed the economy’s broader transition from fossil fuels and grow the marketplace for cleaner technologies.
As the country’s largest employer, the federal government has about $650 billion in annual purchasing power for goods and services, the White House said. That makes the government and its purchasing plans significant factors for businesses and manufacturers looking for lucrative contracts as they decide what products to offer.
The White House hopes that as manufacturers scale up production of clean technologies to meet the government’s future needs, the cost of such products and services will decrease, making them more affordable for families and businesses in the private sector.
The government intends to spend tens of billions from the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Build Back Better Act, if it passes, to replace its 600,000 cars and trucks with an all-electric fleet, as well as upgrade efficiency in its 300,000 buildings.
Biden’s order pledges that light-duty vehicles purchased by the government will be zero-emission by 2027 and says all vehicles should meet the standard by 2035.
In his remarks in Missouri, Biden highlighted how modern public transit, including electric buses, has been helping Kansas City meet its emissions goals and will play a role for communities tackling climate change in the future.