News | 26 October 2021

Wellington joins global race for climate action

Wellington has been welcomed into the global Cities Race to Zero initiative, joining cities around the world in a collective pledge to halve carbon emissions by 2030 – and become a net zero carbon capital by 2050.

Family on a bike

The Cities Race to Zero is part of Race to Zero, a global campaign to rally leadership and support for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says now more than ever we need to take urgent and ambitious action on the climate crisis.

“By joining the Cities Race to Zero, Wellington has committed to keeping global warming below the 1.5°Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement. We’re putting inclusive climate action at the centre of all urban decision-making to create thriving and equitable communities for everyone.”

The announcement comes just two weeks out from COP26, the major climate change summit hosted by the UK in Glasgow.

British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke, welcomed Wellington City Council’s commitment.

“I’m delighted Wellington City Council has joined the Race to Zero, joining 800 other cities from across the globe in pledging ambitious action to tackle the climate crisis. We urge other cities, universities and businesses to join too. If we all play our part we can protect people and nature and keep the 1.5 degrees goal alive.

Wellington City Council recently set a new science-based emission reduction target of 57% by 2030, and released the first annual update of Te Atakura – First to Zero. The 2021 Update provides a progress report on the actions the Council committed to when it declared a climate emergency in 2019.

Wellington City Council is already a member of other international climate action initiatives including the 100 Resilient Cities Network and the Global Covenant of Mayors, and is one of this year’s top 50 cities in the Bloomberg Global Mayors Challenge. Having already achieved Champion City status in the Mayors Challenge, Wellington is now in to win $US1million to further develop a ‘digital twin’ for the city using gaming technology and real data so Wellingtonians can explore climate change challenges such as sea level rise.

Earlier this year Wellington was named the number one city worldwide for environmental security in the Economist’s Safe Cities Index 2021. This index considers how the city has incorporated sustainability parameters into its urban planning to reduce carbon emissions and manage climate risks.