WASHINGTON — President Biden unveiled a plan on Wednesday to make the federal government carbon neutral, ordering federal agencies to buy electric vehicles, to power facilities with wind, solar and nuclear energy, and to use sustainable building materials.
In a series of executive orders, Mr. Biden called on the government to transform its 300,000 buildings, 600,000 cars and trucks, and use its annual purchases of $650 billion in goods and services to meet his goal of a federal government that stops adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050.
From his earliest days in office, Mr. Biden said he intended to use the federal government as a model and to help spur the markets for green energy. The executive orders signed Wednesday set a timetable for the transition.
By 2030, Mr. Biden wants the federal government to purchase electricity produced only from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. And by 2032, the Biden administration wants to see the emissions produced by buildings cut in half.
The executive action was first reported by The Washington Post.
If implemented, the moves could give a significant boost to the clean energy market, experts said.
“It’s a similar strategy to what China is doing so successfully, leveraging the purchasing power of their government to create demand that markets can meet,” said Joshua Freed, senior vice president for climate and energy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic research group.
“The federal government in so many areas is one of, if not the largest, purchaser,” Mr. Freed said, noting that the government spends about $5 billion annually buying concrete. Setting standards for more environmentally sustainable products as well as clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles, he said, would have a “huge influence” on the private sector.
Mr. Biden has pledged to cut United States emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. A major climate and social spending bill moving through Congress includes hundreds of billions of dollars in tax incentives that analysts said could get the United States about half way to that goal but the rest will require significant executive action.