Back Door Strategy for Emissions Reduction

In October 2009, President Obama ordered Federal agencies to begin a planning process for achieving the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their operations by 2020.[1] Now, those Federal agencies are submitting sustainability plans to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Like every good employee, each agency is sucking up to the boss promising performance that will be a ‘model for the nation’!  Whenever you hear those words, be afraid, be VERY afraid!

The White House added up the promises and reported this week that the sum of the sustainability action plans will reduce the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 28% by 2020.  That performance would mean the equivalent of saving 646 trillion BTUs, 205 million barrels of oil or taking 17 million cars of the road for one year. The agencies said going green is expected to save a cumulative total of $8 to $11 billion in avoided energy costs.

What they did NOT tell the White House was how much it will cost to avoid spending $11 billion.

Well maybe after seeing their budgets soar from stimulus spending they can afford it, you say?  Don’t count on it!  The Government provided the roadmap for this “cure” when the White House said it intended to “leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies.”

You see this coming don’t you?

The Federal agencies plan to pay the cost of sucking up to their boss by forcing everyone else who want to slurp at the Feds trough to change their behaviors so that the Federal Agencies can look good and take credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which each vendor will have to pay to play.

Now the General Services Administration (GSA) must tell the White House by April 2010 what new procurement rules it will impose on vendors to achieving these GHG emissions savings.  Here are a few of the rules being considered:

  • Vendors and contractors must register with a voluntary registry or organization to report their greenhouse gas emissions; (read: Big Brother now knows how bad you are!)
  • Federal contractors must track their greenhouse gas inventory and the actions they plan to take to reduce their emissions; (read: Big Brother can now decide if you are doing enough!)
  • New rules to afford preference to vendors for minimizing emissions in their manufacturing process; and (read: We will decide if you are naughty or nice!)
  • Imposing other yet to be defined sustainable practices to reduce emissions. (read: if our boss piles on more requirements later we’ll call you!)

So what?

So the president got to issue a great press release when he signed this Executive Order last October and another one now that the Federal agencies have saluted and said yes sir, this is how much we can stick it to our vendors sir.

GSA will now revise its procurement policies by April 2010 to pile on more requirements for registration, tracking, emission reduction planning and compliance tracking to EVERY procurement the Feds make.

Vendors will then raise their bids to reflect the additional compliance costs and the Feds will pass those costs along in the form of higher base budgets and project costs.

How much would you like to bet that all of this will cost more than the $11 billion the Federal agencies say they will save from doing all this political correct work in the Federal vineyards?

But wait, I saved the best for last!

Now, whether the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill is passed or not or whether COP15 failed to produce a treaty or US EPA pursues its proposed endangerment finding, the Federal Government is undertaking the slow, methodical and ruthlessly efficient process of implementing them anyway through the spending prerogatives of the Government and its ripple impact throughout the economy.

How’s that for transparency?