WorldGBC: Net zero carbon initiative gets boost from 10 countries at COP22

by Brianna Crandall — November 14, 2016 —The goal to ensure that every single building produces zero carbon emissions by 2050 took a major step forward on Thursday as Green Building Councils in 10 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States) made progress on their plans to introduce net zero carbon certification or designation programs within their own countries, at the COP22 conference, according to an announcement from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).

Specifically, the Green Building Council of Australia, Canada Green Building Council, the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), India Green Building Council and the U.S. Green Building Council all announced their intention to introduce programs that recognize and reward net zero carbon buildings, with some announcing target dates by which they will introduce them. These initiatives could be either stand-alone net zero certification programs, or a net zero designation within existing certification programs.

The news came during the second “Buildings Day” at the COP22 U.N Climate Change Conference 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco, following a meeting of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (which was established at COP21 in Paris last December).

The announcements mark significant progress to Advancing Net Zero, WorldGBC’s groundbreaking project to ensure that all buildings — both new and existing — are net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (meaning they produce no emissions at all by the middle of the century).

Other GBCs in Advancing Next Zero are expected to confirm when they will introduce net zero schemes in 2017, with additional GBCs also joining the project in the future.

Ensuring that the global building sector emits zero carbon emissions by 2050 is in line with efforts to keep global warming to within 2 (and even 1.5) degrees Celsius, as set out in the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Buildings are currently responsible for over 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but represent one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions though energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, points out WorldGBC.

Further details on each country’s commitments are available on the WorldGBC announcement.