BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 17 Sept '18

London is one of 19 global cities that has pledged to make new buildings ‘net-zero carbon’ by 2030

19 pioneering mayors, representing 130 million urban citizens, have committed to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from their cities by ensuring that new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030.

By signing the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration, 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 & Washington D.C. also pledged to ensure all buildings in the cities, old or new, will meet net-zero carbon standards by 2050.

Buildings and emissions

‘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 1.5℃.

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.

Working with governments

Currently, half a million people die prematurely each year due to outdoor air pollution caused by energy used in buildings.

Delivering on the commitments of the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration will require a united effort, as city governments do not have direct control over all the buildings in a city.

The 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.

13 cities, including Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Montreal, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Tshwane and Vancouver have also committed to owning, occupying and developing only assets that are net-zero carbon by 2030.