Climate Accord Gets Critical Signatories: Net Zero Carbon Building Certifications Advance

The first international accord on climate change, the Paris agreement, was ratified by the European Union, Canada, India, Nepal, Malta, and other countries in October. The US and China ratified in September. The deal, which needed countries representing 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions to sign on, now has 73 countries with 57% of emissions and will take effect November 4th. The agreement calls for participating countries to develop individual plans to reduce carbon emissions and to report those results in order that the average global temperature doesn’t rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Certifications for net zero carbon (NZC) buildings that align with the emissions reductions goals established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris (COP21) are under development.  Representatives from ten Green Building Councils worldwide met with the World Green Building Council and Architecture 2030 at the Advancing Net Zero workshop in New York City late September to determine a common approach to creating net zero building certifications.

The countries at Advancing Net Zero, including the US and China, agreed that: 1. All new buildings and major renovations are built to a NZC standard starting in 2030, and 2. 100 percent of buildings achieve zero emissions by 2050. Each country will use these guidelines in drafting their certification programs, which should be completed by the end of 2017. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, The Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden will be the first to launch NZC certifications. See Architecture2030, to read more.