Major Cities Push for Lower Emissions

Large cities worldwide are deploying new energy plans with ambitious goals to cut emissions and boost efficiency

What Happened?

Large cities such as Melbourne and Los Angeles are deploying new energy plans with ambitious goals to cut emissions and boost efficiency.

Los Angeles

A new energy play laid out by Los Angeles officials aims to increase the city’s overall efficiency by 15 percent by 2020. The conservation effort will be rolled out by Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power, and is considered the most ambitious strategies for any utility in California, CBS Local reported.

Under the energy efficiency plan, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plan to cut energy consumption by 15 percent, which is the equivalent of removing 440,000 cars from the street. To install more efficient technologies and implement policy changes, the city will also create 16 energy-efficiency job for every $1 million put into the initiative.

Special subsidies and financial support will be provided to small businesses with less than 15 employees who opt to implement energy-saving changes. Those that qualify may receive free services for their efforts, CBS Local reported.

The Los Angeles plan is by far the most aggressive energy conservation in California, exceeding the 10-year 10 percent energy efficiency requirements set in place through AB 2021 for all of the state to achieve.

The energy initiative is also designed to build off the city’s Time for Action plan to enhance transparency and accountability throughout the local government. The strategy lists out the top priorities of Los Angeles and concrete measures public agencies will take to implement long-term, sustainable improvements in job creation, transit mitigation, public education and overall financial stability.


The city of Melbourne in Australia has announced a new plan to have zero net carbon emissions by 2020. The Zero Net Emissions by 2020 strategy lays out tactics to achieve carbon neutrality in Melbourne for the next four years and into the future. The plan focuses on collaboration between the public and private sectors to make structural, economic and policy changes that:
  • Drive energy efficiency
  • Decrease use of carbon intensive fuel sources
  • Offset any remaining emissions

According to research from the Climate Commission, Melbourne will experience lower rainfall, intense storms, heatwaves and flash flooding on a regular basis by 2030 as a result of climate change. By 2070, the city is projected to experience double the number of heatwaves it currently experiences, as well as a 10 percent reduction in rainfall but a significant jump in storm events. The new and unpredictable weather patterns will negatively impact the local economy and infrastructure if preventative measures are not taken.

Therefore, Melbourne devised a strategy to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2020 by investing in renewable energy, clean energy, and solar and wind resources. The ambitious targets include:

  • Maintain carbon neutrality
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2018
  • Increase average National Australian Built Environmental Rating System of commercial buildings to 4 by 2018, or increasing building efficiency by 40 percent
  • Establish a baseline and develop a long-term target in the first year of implementation
  • Generate 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2018
  • Increase low emissions transport to 60 percent of trips by 2018
  • Decrease waste to landfill per resident by 5 percent by 2018

Melbourne plans to pave the way for more energy-efficient cities throughout Australia, which has already invested more than $14 billion in renewable energy sources since 2009.

Down to Zero

Gov1 has reported on several cities working toward a zero emissions goal through innovation in a variety of sectors.

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