28% by 2020: An Encouraging Step

28% by 2020: An Encouraging Step

Coming on the heels of the State of the Union address, in which the President made the indisputable link between job creation and clean energy, the White House’s announcement on Friday that the Federal Government will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2020 is another encouraging step in the right direction. As the largest consumer of energy in this country, the Federal Government should take the lead on making sure the American dream for a low-carbon future becomes a reality.

Applied Materials strongly supports the Administration’s decision to shift its operations away from a dependence on fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources. A vigorous federal procurement program of solar PV, for example, would not only reduce carbon emissions, but also put thousands to work in the immediate future in well-paying manufacturing and installation jobs.

Getting to that ambitious 28 percent target will not happen overnight. The President should push for aggressive intermediate goals every few years in much the same way Applied has called for a strong, federal renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025. Our hope is that by reaching vigorous interim goals of 12 percent by 2014 and 20 percent by 2020, we will have a better chance of achieving our ultimate target of “25-by-25.”

A similar model should be applied for the President’s approach to reducing greenhouse gases. Without setting incremental benchmarks along the way, the urgency for real action just isn’t there, as we regrettably saw at last month’s climate change conference in Copenhagen. But if the momentum the President has established continues unabated, we see no reason why the Fed should not only meet its 28-percent emission reduction goal by the next decade, but far surpass it.

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