US President Barack Obama has issued a mandate for the tripling of renewable energy usage by the federal government by the end of the decade.

Obama has issued an executive order, which is the unique prerogative of his office and can be used by presidents to bypass Congress, to mandate that the federal government nearly triple its usage of renewable sources of energy by the year 2020.

If successfully implemented, Obama’s executive order will raise the usage of renewable energy by the US federal government, including the military, to around 20 per cent within the next six years, as compared to 7.5 per cent at present.

Obama believes the increased use of renewable energy is needed in order to “promote energy security, combat climate change, protect the interests of taxpayers and safeguard the health of our environment.”

He hopes the government can assume a leading role in the United States for the adoption of clean, renewable energy. The US government is the single largest consumer of electricity in the country, occupying almost half a million buildings, operating 600,000 vehicles, and purchasing over half a trillion US dollars in goods and services each year.

The US military has already launched a program to lift its usage of renewable energy to 25 per cent by 2025 as part of efforts to diminish the size of its carbon footprint.

While Obama has come under fire for insufficient efforts to address America’s environmental problems, he has made good on promises to reduce the carbon footprint of the federal government, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent since assuming office.

Obama’s executive order has been issued just as other major economies step up efforts to promote the adoption of renewable energy domestically.

China, the world’s second largest economy, doubled the pace of renewable energy increases in the first 10 months of the year, with the National Energy Administration indicating that the country added 36 gigawatts of capacity by October 31. Wind power saw an increase of 7.9 gigawatts, with solar gaining 3.6 gigawatts and nuclear capacity rising by 2.2 gigawatts.

Across the Atlantic, the UK has unveiled ambitious plans to invest a total of 40 billion pounds in renewable energy by 2020, with a push for offshore wind power in particular, in order to take advantage of it’s geographic advantages as an island nation.