The public and private sector ramp up commitments ahead of COP21 | U.S. Green Building Council
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Public and private entities in the United States are making emissions reduction pledges ahead of the climate negotiations in Paris.

At this writing, through the Compact of Mayors, 83 local governments from more than 30 U.S. states have committed to ambitious climate planning activities. The Compact is an ever-growing global coalition that unites city governments and their network partners with a common aim—to share the impact of city action with the global community to inspire and catalyze action. USGBC is pleased to be partnering with ICLEINLC and the World Wildlife Fund to recognize 11 of these leaders in urban sustainability as the Local Climate Leaders Circle.

In order to be Compact-compliant, cities must complete four actions. First, the city must register its commitment. Within one year of committing, the city must build and complete a community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory with a breakdown of emissions for buildings and transportation sectors. Within two years of committing, the registered city must update its GHG inventory to also include a breakdown of emissions from the waste sector and set a target to reduce its GHG emissions. Last, within three years of its commitment, the city must establish an Action Plan illustrating how it will deliver on its commitment to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to climate change. 

At the National League of Cities’ annual Congress of Cities last week, Vice President Biden said, “The Compact of Mayors relies on city officials all over the world pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build climate resilient cities and protect the public health.”

The private sector is actively making commitments too. The UN’s Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) is a portal dedicated to housing commitments to action from private and public sector entities. In early November, more than 1,000 total commitments to action from the United States were registered with NAZCA—many of them from leading private sector companies.

USGBC member companies are a visible part of this effort, and some of our community’s leaders are registering NAZCA commitments ahead of the UNFCCC negotiations in Paris. Platinum members such as AutodeskBank of AmericaHoneywellJohnson Controls and Starbucks have committed to reducing emissions through various measurable reduction goals. Each of the aforementioned companies is targeting increased energy efficiency throughout operations as a strategy to help achieve stated reduction goals. 

More commitments roll in by the day. To stay up to date, check the Compact of Mayors and NAZCA for commitments from companies and governments in the United States and around the world.

Feeling inspired?

We anxiously await the outcomes of the upcoming negotiations, but are extremely encouraged to see so many parties in the public and private sector stepping up and making commitments on their own. 

Follow COP activities on social media with the hashtags: #COP21, #ClimateDeclaration and #BetterBuildGreen.