City Mayors Pledge Net Zero Carbon Buildings by 2050

by | Aug 27, 2018

net zero carbon

Mayors of 19 major cities around the world announced commitments to make their buildings net zero carbon by 2050. Metropolitan areas represented included London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo.

The mayors agreed to put regulations in place that require all new buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030, and all existing ones to reach that goal by 2050, Reuters reported.

“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,” New York mayor Bill de Blasio said, Reuters journalist Umberto Bacchi wrote.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo also supported the pledge. “We recognize our responsibility to ensure every building, whether historic or brand new, helps deliver a sustainable future,” she said.

London mayor Sadiq Khan agreed to the commitment, saying that his strategy to improve London’s environment includes some of the world’s most ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions from local homes and workplaces, New Civil Engineer reported. “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,” he continued.

The pledge was signed last Thursday by representatives of London, Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Tshwane, Vancouver, and Washington, DC, Bacchi reported.

New Civil Engineer’s Greg pitcher wrote that the mayors agreed to do the following:

  • Establish a roadmap to reach net zero carbon buildings
  • Develop a suite of supporting incentives and programs
  • Report annually on progress towards meeting targets
  • Evaluate the feasibility of reporting on emissions beyond operational carbon

Experts told Bacchi they think that the new goal is feasible, but cautioned that there may be several hurdles.

Eric Lounsbury, director of environmental consultancy Carbon Trust, told him: “The biggest challenge is ensuring that developers avoid cutting corners to save relatively small amounts in construction today by passing retrofit costs onto future owners.”

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