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Obama to feds: Boost renewable power 20%

WASHINGTON — Saying the government should lead by example, President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020.

Obama said the plan to use renewables for 20 percent of electricity needs will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources such as solar and wind power that provide thousands of jobs.

The order is part of the president’s wide-ranging, second-term drive to combat climate change and prepare for its effects. A plan announced in June would put first-time limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, boost renewable energy production on federal lands and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.

The directive on renewable energy applies to all federal agencies, civilian and military. The Defense Department had previously set a goal that 25 percent of its energy needs should be supplied by renewable energy by 2025.

Federal agencies have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent since he took office in 2009, Obama said, but the government can do even better.