Obama forces gov't emissions cuts amid lingering uncertainty over national limits

The curbs allow the White House to show progress on climate change even as legislation to impose nationwide emissions curbs remains an uncertain bet in 2010.

“As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient,” Obama said in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution and shift federal energy expenses away from oil and toward local, clean energy.”

A White House Council on Environmental Quality official previewed the action last week. The government-wide target rolls together the goals of 35 federal agencies that pledged various cuts under last year’s executive order.

Agencies will reach the targets with actions such as increased use of hybrid vehicles for their fleets and the use of more renewable energy, such as solar power, the White House said.

The White House also vowed that progress toward the goal will be reported online annually.