Eight Massachusetts communities have joined cities around the world in a pledge to halve carbon emissions by 2030 — and reach net-zero emissions in the 2040s or sooner — to ensure a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global Cities Race to Zero campaign is rallying leadership and support from businesses, communities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon pandemic recovery that prevents future threats, creates jobs, and drives inclusive, sustainable growth.

The community-specific track of Race to Zero is working to recruit more than 1,000 communities to join the campaign. Massachusetts communities that have committed thus far are Beverly, Boston, Cambridge, Lexington, Melrose, New Bedford, Northampton and Somerville. [Note: After this story was published, Medford also signed on to the campaign.]

The campaign seeks to:
• Build global momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November
• Align local policies and programs with the actions that achieve the science-based targets needed for the community to build an inclusive and green economy aligned with the Paris Agreement

Cities Race to Zero is a collaboration between all of the global city networks (C40, ICLEI, Global Covenant of Mayors, UCLG, WRI and WWF).

Cities and towns that join commit to the following five criteria:

1. Endorse Global Green New Deal Principles (created by C40 Mayors in 2019).

2. Pledge to reach net-zero in the 2040s, or by mid-century at the latest, and limit warming to 1.5°C.

3. Plan to set an interim 2030 science-based target consistent with a fair share of 50% global emission reductions.

4. Proceed to planning and implementing at least one inclusive climate action as fast as possible that aligns with what is required to achieve the 2030 targets (e.g., procure only zero-emission buses from 2025).

5. Publish the community’s target and actions, and report progress annually.

Case studies, implementation guides and technical reports are available online to help local staff in learning how to implement these actions.

For more information, contact info@citiesracetozero.org or visit www.citiesracetozero.org.

Written by