UK Government and Boston University release joint report on cities’ net-zero ambitions

21st May 2021 - 16:54

A new Accelerating Cities’ Net Zero Action report, created in partnership with Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and the UK Government, aims to increase the ambition of cities in the UK and the US to set and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets ahead of COP26 this November.

In the lead up to the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launched “Race to Zero,” a global campaign to rally leadership and support from all non-state actors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery. To support this effort, earlier this year, the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy (BU ISE) worked with the UK Government to deliver two virtual roundtables, branded as visioning labs, which convened stakeholders from city government, academia, and net zero experts from North America and the UK.

The visioning labs, which also involved academics and net-zero experts from the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN), C40, UK100, Climate and Urban Systems Partnerships (CUSP), Climate Mayors, and MetroLab Networks, showed cities that networks can support them and provide additional capacity to develop net zero roadmaps. The labs convened a total of 51 stakeholders, including representatives of 28 cities.

The result of the visioning labs was the Accelerating Cities’ Net Zero Action report, developed to promote cross learning and collaboration between US and UK cities during a year focused on ambitious climate action around the world. The participants included representatives of cities who have already set a net-zero target and signed up for the “Race to Zero” (Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Boulder, CO; Bristol, UK; Columbia, MO; Glasgow, UK; Houston, TX; Providence, RI; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; Vancouver, Canada; Washington, DC) as well as representatives of cities who are considering or beginning to implement a net-zero target.

Since the conclusion of the visioning labs, several cities have signed on to “Race to Zero” campaign (Concord, NH; Orlando & Tampa, FL; Cincinnati, OH; San Antonio, TX; Boise, ID; Hartford, CT).

"Getting towards the green economy of the future will not be a drag on our overall economic development,” said Peter Abbott OBE, British Consul General to New England. “Studies suggest that for every dollar spent on climate action $3-$8 are returned to the economy. This Net Zero Action Report is a road map for our regional partners to help take their first steps towards making that green economy future a reality."

“City-university partnerships can be a powerful accelerant to our decarbonization transition, supporting the crucial effort to achieve dramatic emissions mitigation in the coming decade to maintain a sustainable future,” said Dr. Jacquie Ashmore, Executive Director, Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy.

Read the report