Today, 19 pioneering mayors, representing 130 million urban citizens, committed to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from their cities by ensuring that new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030. By joining WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, the leaders of Copenhagen, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Tshwane, Vancouver and Washington D.C. also pledged to ensure all buildings in the cities, old or new, will meet net zero carbon standards by 2050.
The WorldGBC definition of a net zero carbon building is a building that is highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and / or off site renewable energy sources. Such bold commitments, made ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, are essential steps in delivering on the highest goals of the Paris Agreement and keeping global temperature rise below 1.5℃.
Buildings in urban areas are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and typically account for over half of a total city’s emissions on average. In London, Los Angeles and Paris, buildings account for well over 70% of the cities’ overall emissions, creating an enormous opportunity for progress on bringing emissions down. Currently, half a million people die prematurely each year due to outdoor air pollution caused by energy used in buildings.
Delivering on the commitments made today will require a united effort, as city governments do not have direct control over all the buildings in a city. This commitment includes a pledge to work together with state and regional governments and the private sector to drive this transformation, and calls on national governments for equal action.
The commitment has been orchestrated by C40 cities, a global group of major cities committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level. This pledge from cities is part of the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment for businesses, cities, states and regions, which opened for recruitment in June.
Specifically, cities making this commitment will: Establish a roadmap for our commitment to reach net zero carbon buildings; develop a suite of supporting incentives and programmes; report annually on progress towards meeting our targets, and evaluate the feasibility of reporting on emissions beyond operational carbon (such as refrigerants).
Furthermore, 13 cities, including Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Montreal, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Tshwane and Vancouver commit to owning, occupying and developing only assets that are net-zero carbon by 2030. To achieve this, cities will: Evaluate the current energy demand and carbon emissions from their municipal buildings, and identify opportunities for reduction. They will establish a roadmap for their commitment to reach net zero carbon municipal buildings, and report annually on progress towards meeting their targets, and evaluate the feasibility of including emissions beyond operational carbon (such as refrigerants).
The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment will officially launch at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California, US on 13 September 2018.