Thursday, 26 January 2023

Four major California cities commit to dramatically reducing pollution from buildings by 2030

SAN FRANCISCO – Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Monica on Thursday joined 15 other cities around the globe in committing to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas pollution produced by buildings.

The landmark Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration brings together mayors representing 19 cities and 130 million people to declare that all new buildings in these cities will be net-zero carbon by 2030.

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration stipulates that cities will ensure all new construction by 2030 will use ultra-efficient technologies to cut energy use. Any remaining energy needs will be met from renewable sources.

The agreement includes a commitment that all buildings – old and new – will be zero carbon by 2050.

Other signatories include New York City, Portland, and Washington D.C., as well as London, Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Vancouver, Toronto, Tokyo, Sydney, Stockholm and more.

Buildings are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. According to a statement by C40 cities about the agreement, half a million people die prematurely each year due to outdoor air pollution caused by energy use in buildings. In California, buildings constitute the second largest source of pollution.

A bill instructing the California Energy Commission to assess the most cost-effective methods to reduce energy use in buildings, AB 3232, passed on Monday.

A second bill, SB 1477, would help kickstart the market for clean and energy efficient heating technologies in homes and buildings, and is still awaiting vote.

Thursday’s announcement was heralded by industry, health professionals and environmentalists in California as an important next step in cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of cities, ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco next month.

“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.

“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 Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer.

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