Cities sign up to zero-carbon buildings by 2030
06 September 2018 | Mitigation
New buildings in 19 global cities, including London, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Tokyo and Paris, will have zero emissions by 2030, with existing buildings becoming zero carbon by 2050.
The mayors of the 19 cities signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration in London, to help their metropolises significantly cut their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Net-Zero Buildings use energy ultra-efficiently and meet any remaining energy needs from renewable 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 1.5C” said the C40 Cities initiative, a group of cities committed to taking bold climate action, which co-ordinated the initiative.
C40 Cities connects 96 cities representing more than 700 million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, whose mayors are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe in cities.
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, the group added. 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 their commitments will require city governments to work with the private sector as well as national, state and regional governments, as cities do not have direct control over all the buildings in a city.
The cities that have signed up to the scheme have committed to: Establish a roadmap to reach net zero carbon buildings: Develop a suite of supporting incentives and programmes: Report annually on progress towards meeting targets: and evaluate the feasibility of reporting on emissions beyond operational carbon (such as refrigerants). Thirteen of the cities, including Montreal, Portland, San Jose, Santa Monica, Toronto and Vancouver, have said that by 2030 all the buildings that they own, occupy and develop will be net-zero carbon.
“As mayors of the world’s great cities we recognise our responsibility to ensure every building, whether historic or brand new, helps deliver a sustainable future for our citizens,” said Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40, Anne Hidalgo. “With this commitment cities are getting the job done, concretely delivering on the Paris Agreement and building better cities for generations to come. One more time, the future is taking place in cities.”
Climate change poses an existential threat to New York City, and making its buildings more sustainable and efficient is a key part of the solution, said Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City. “With this commitment, we’re delivering on our promise to make New York City cleaner and safer for generations to come by meeting the Paris agreement. We’re proud to stand alongside other cities worldwide that are taking bold and meaningful steps to cut the pollution driving climate change.”
To help it meet the targets, Tokyo has introduced the Tokyo Cap and Trade Programme, the first city-level mandatory CO2 emissions reduction programme in the world to include office buildings, said Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, while Stockholm is to decarbonize its district heating system.
And while the current incumbent of Washington DC’s most famous building does not consider it a priority, the city’s mayor Muriel Bowser said: “As the nation’s capital, Washington, DC has a unique responsibility to push for bold climate action. This commitment advances our DC values and is part of our plan to continue building a greener, more resilient, and more sustainable DC.”
The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, continued this theme, saying: “In the face of shocking inaction by the National Government here in Australia, we are proud to commit to even more ambitious climate action.”