Cities worldwide commit to net-zero carbon buildings by 2030

Nineteen global cities have signed a declaration to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from their cities by making all new buildings net-zero carbon by 2030.

The mayors of global cities such as London, New York, Tokyo and Paris were among the urban leaders who signed a declaration to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Specifically, the Net Zero Carbon Building Declaration commits these cities, which together represent 130 million urban residents, to ensure all new buildings operate at zero carbon by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050. The declaration calls for the signatories to establish a roadmap to reach net zero carbon buildings, including incentives and programmes, with annual reporting to show the progress made reaching the targets.

“Action is needed today, because most buildings will be standing for generations to come. Missing this opportunity locks in the problem for our children and grandchildren, but delivering on this commitment will provide benefits for our citizens to enjoy long into the future,” the declaration reads.

“From lower energy bills for all, including our most vulnerable citizens, to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air, the positive impacts of action are undeniable.”

According to the C40 Cities network, which helped develop the declaration, buildings in urban areas are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and often account for over half of a city’s total emissions on average. In major cities such as London, Los Angeles and Paris, buildings account for well over 70 per cent of their overall emissions. Currently, half a million people die prematurely each year due to outdoor air pollution caused by energy used in buildings.

“As mayors of the world’s great cities we recognize 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.

The full list of signature cities are: 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.

Image credit: Nil Castellví on Unsplash

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