Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

From IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub

24 August 2018: Mayors from 19 cities around the world have signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration developed with the C40 Cities network. Signatories undertake to ensure that new buildings will operate at net zero carbon by 2030, and pledge that all buildings will operate at net zero carbon by 2050.

The Declaration highlights buildings’ importance for climate change mitigation and for meeting the goals set out by the Paris Agreement on climate change. It flags that buildings, on average, account for roughly half of cities’ total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and that “half a million people die each year due to outdoor air pollution caused by energy used in buildings.”

Signatories commit to introduce policies, plans and regulations that incentivize net zero carbon buildings, as well as to work with state and regional governments to set building standards. They also agree to collaborate with businesses and the private sector to drive transformation.

Buildings, on average, account for roughly half of cities’ total GHG emissions.

In order to achieve the ambitions laid out in the Declaration, cities and their leaders will:

  • Evaluate current energy demand and emissions from municipal buildings;
  • Establish roadmaps to meet the Declaration’s commitments;
  • Develop supporting incentives and programmes; and
  • Report annually on progress.

Mayors of the signatory cities offered their perspectives during the announcement. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed that “climate change poses an existential threat,” while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized the “moral necessity,” environmental imperative and economic opportunity of combating climate change. The other signatory cities are: Copenhagen, Denmark; Johannesburg, South Africa; London, UK; Montreal, Canada; Newburyport, US; Paris, France; Portland, US; San Francisco, US; San Jose, US; Santa Monica, US; Stockholm, Sweden; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Toronto, Canada; Tshwane, South Africa; Vancouver, Canada; and Washington DC, US. [Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration] [Global Climate Action Summit Press Release] [Climate Action Press Release]