19 Global Cities Commit to Make New Buildings “Net-Zero Carbon” by 2030

Regulations and planning policy will also target existing buildings to make them net-zero carbon by 2050 to ensure cities deliver on the highest goals of Paris Agreement.

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. make bold commitment ahead of Global Climate Action Summit.

London, UK (23 August 2018) – 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 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.

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. 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. This pledge from cities is part of the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Building Commitment for Businesses, Cities, States and Regions.

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.
  • Establish a roadmap for their commitment to reach net zero carbon municipal buildings.
  • Report annually on progress towards meeting their targets, and evaluate the feasibility of including emissions beyond operational carbon (such as refrigerants).

Leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit, C40 urged cities to step up their climate action and ambition – today’s announcement is one of the city commitments under that initiative.


“Paris is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and iconic buildings. 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 our 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.

“My strategy to improve London’s environment includes some of the world’s most ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions from our homes and workplaces. This includes expanding my existing standard of zero carbon new homes to apply to all new buildings in 2019. We want to make London a zero carbon city by 2050 and we’re working hard to ensure its buildings are energy efficient and supplied with clean energy sources. I look forward to collaborating with other cities on our shared vision of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

“Tokyo aims to achieve ‘Zero Emission Tokyo’ that produces no CO2 emissions and has been implementing ambitious actions to reduce CO2 emissions from buildings, such as the Tokyo Cap and Trade Program, which is the first city-level mandatory CO2 emissions reduction program in the world to include office buildings. As a member of the C40 steering committee, I will work hand in hand with the world’s major cities, and advance the initiatives,” said Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo

“Combating climate change is a moral necessity, an environmental imperative, and an economic opportunity — and Los Angeles is proud to be a leader in creating our clean energy future. By pledging to reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings, cities are moving us another step closer to the goals of the Paris Agreement — and the promise of lower emissions, less pollution, and more renewable energy innovation,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

“Cities across the world must accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of global climate change. San Francisco’s commitment to green building design has produced some of the most energy and resource efficient buildings in the world. Shifting away from fossil fuels and powering our buildings with 100% renewable energy will further our commitment to addressing climate change,” said San Francisco Mayor, London Breed

“Stockholm has a long history of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and we’re always looking at new ways to reduce our city’s carbon footprint. Most important for buildings is the decarbonisation of our city-wide district heating system, and strict requirements on energy efficiency,” said Karin Wanngård, Mayor of Stockholm

“Considering that the energy used for powering, heating and cooling of buildings accounts for more than 25% of the GHG emissions produced by South African cities, action to make buildings more energy efficient has a huge potential to reduce GHG emission. Expect to see major shifts in our approach to powering our buildings as we become one of the first African Capital Cities to make a clear commitment towards Net Zero Carbon in new buildings by 2030, a development we are so excited about! By virtue of their national status, Capital Cities are home to Government Departments, Diplomatic Missions, Scientific and Research institutions and academic institutions. The City of Tshwane is leveraging on strong partnerships with such institutions to influence an uptake of ambitious target of cutting emissions in buildings and meet our targets by 2050,” said Executive Mayor of the City Tshwane, Cllr Solly Msimanga

“At the City of Sydney, we’ve been carbon neutral since 2007, and certified since 2011. In the face of shocking inaction by National Government here in Australia, we are proud to commit to even more ambitious climate action in the lead up to the Global Climate Action Summit. We can only achieve these targets by working with our residents and the commercial and corporate sectors. Australia is among the highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions per capita, so it is heartening that some of Australia’s major corporations lead the world in sustainability. And with many now setting more ambitious energy efficiency and net zero targets, I’m confident we will sustain that position.” Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney

“As the nation’s capital, Washington, DC has a unique responsibility to push for bold climate action. With this new commitment to net-zero carbon buildings by 2050, we will continue to grow our city while shrinking our contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. This commitment advances our DC values and is part of our plan to continue building a greener, more resilient, and more sustainable DC,” said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

“Copenhagen fully supports the Net Zero Carbon Building declaration. Copenhagen must lead the way in terms of creating green solutions that inspire other large cities and we are constantly trying to improve. Last year Copenhagen won C40’s prestigious climate award for our efforts in making our buildings more energy-efficient and climate friendly. Moving forward we are committed to become even greener to reach our goal of becoming the world’s first co2-neutral city by 2025,” said Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.

“Portland has been a longtime global leader in environmental initiatives and I look forward to continuing to advocate and fight for ambitious environmental strategies. Ensuring Portland’s old and new buildings achieve net zero carbon use is an essential challenge I am ready to take on,” said Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler

“We are excited to be signing the C40 Net Zero Carbon Emissions Declaration along with other major cities around the world. Vancouver’s Zero Emission Building Plan will not only reduce GHG emissions from new buildings by over 60% but is also driving our green economy with a 53% increase in green building jobs since 2010,” said Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson.

“San Jose continues to lead on climate action. Through our Paris-aligned sustainability plan, Climate Smart San José, we will tackle one of our community’s largest source of emissions by encouraging new commercial and residential buildings to achieve ZNE status, and retrofitting existing buildings to reduce energy consumption and our carbon emissions,” said Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo

“Santa Monica is a small city with outsized ambitions. Our environmental legacy is steeped in our long history of meeting our ambitions with action. Climate change is happening in Santa Monica and California and we are committed to doing all we can to meet this imminent challenge,” said Mayor of Santa Monica, Ted Winterer

“Newburyport is proud to join cities and mayors across the globe to address the critical need to reduce and advance our work towards zero waste. We have been working diligently with broad community partnerships to educate residents and incrementally achieve significant reductions through creative organics programs, hazardous waste and electronics recycling, banning single-use plastic bags and re-purposing excess foods in our schools. Each city that steps up to join these efforts will make a real difference today and as we plan for the future health of our communities,” said Mayor of Newburyport, Donna D. Holaday

– ENDS –


About C40 Cities:

C40 Cities connects 96 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities 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. The current chair of C40 is Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania.

To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit our website, or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About World Green Building Council and the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment promotes leadership through ambitious trajectories for action from Businesses, Cities, States and Regions for owning, occupying and developing net zero carbon portfolios by 2030. It sets a level of ambition that will create unprecedented demand, stimulating market to deliver net zero carbon buildings at scale.

The World Green Building Council is a global network of Green Building Councils that is transforming the places where we live, work, play, heal and learn. The goal is to help reduce the building and construction sector’s CO2 emissions by 84 gigatonnes and ensure all buildings have net zero emissions by 2050. We believe green buildings can and must be at the centre of our lives. Our changing climate means we must reshape the way we grow and build, enabling people to thrive both today and tomorrow. We take action – championing local and global leadership and empowering our community to drive change. Together, we are greater than the sum of our parts, and commit to green buildings for everyone, everywhere.

About the Global Climate Action Summit

The Global Climate Action Summit takes place Sept. 12-14, 2018, in San Francisco under the theme “Taking Ambition to the Next Level.” To keep warming well below 2 degrees C, and ideally 1.5 degrees C—temperatures that could lead to catastrophic consequences—worldwide emissions must start trending down by 2020. The summit will showcase climate action around the world, along with bold new commitments to give world leaders the confidence they can go even further by 2020 in support of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The summit’s five headline challenge areas are: Healthy Energy Systems, Inclusive Economic Growth, Sustainable Communities, Land and Ocean Stewardship, and Transformative Climate Investments. Many partners are supporting the summit and the mobilization in advance including Climate Group; the Global Covenant of Mayors; Ceres, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; BSR; We Mean Business; CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project; the World Wide Fund for Nature; and Mission 2020.