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Obama will sign an order cutting the government's greenhouse gas emissions

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Cutting emissions by 40 percent

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

President Obama will sign an executive order today that will cut the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, the Associated Press reports.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions could save $18 billion in electricity costs over the next 10 years, compared with emissions levels recorded in 2008. The executive order also outlines the US government's plan to increase the use of renewable energy sources to 30 percent of the government's total energy consumption.

the President has yet to elaborate on the changes that the government will make

The initiative is meant to send a message to other nations that they should take similar steps. Companies that sell to the government, such as GE and HP, will also announce voluntary measures to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, the White House said in a statement.

Obama's staff has suggested that pollution limits on power plants will go a long way toward reaching the goal, but the President has yet to elaborate on the changes that the government will make to obtain a 40 reduction in emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a "Clean Power Plan" last year. The plan asked states to submit proposals outlining the steps they would take to reduce power plant carbon emissions. Since then, a number of states including West Virginia and Indiana have sued the EPA, stating that the plan's use of the Clean Air Act in some sections was illegal, Reuters reports. The case will appear before the DC Circuit Court on April 16th.