Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance

A project of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network

In partnership with INC and C40

Cities striving for carbon neutrality recognize that averting the worst impacts of climate change will require cutting GHG emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

Because urban areas account for nearly three-quarters of humanity's emissions, reaching this goal will depend in large part on our ability to reimagine and reinvent cities in ways that promote economic prosperity, social equity, enhanced quality of life, and climate resilience.

The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA or “Alliance”) is a new collaboration of international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. The Alliance aims to address what it will take for leading international cities to achieve these deep emissions reductions and how they can work together to meet their respective goals more efficiently and effectively.

Founding cities came together to share lessons in planning for and implementing deep carbon reductions and agreed upon opportunities to accelerate best practices through collaboration in the Alliance’s first year, including:

  • Developing Carbon Neutrality Planning Standards – Developing approaches, analysis, and tools to support carbon neutrality; standardizing measurement and verification methodologies for tracking progress.
  • Advancing “Transformative Change” in Key Urban Sectors – Sharing and implementing best practices for achieving “transformative” deep carbon reduction strategies in urban transportation, energy use, and waste systems.
  • Advocating for Policy Change – Identifying and advocating for policies at the state, regional, and federal levels to reduce emission sources not controlled directly by cities and engaging with other external stakeholders who are critical to cities’ success.
  • Speaking with a Common Voice – Helping CNCA cities demonstrate their leadership and communicate with a common voice.
  • Creating a CNCA “Innovation Fund” – Investing in high-potential, city-led projects that develop, test, implement, and amplify deep de-carbonization strategies and practices (currently funded at $500,000).
  • Increasing Alliance Impact – Sharing Alliance learnings with a broader audience to benefit the “next wave” of cities striving for carbon neutrality.

"It is possible to achieve many of cities' interim carbon reduction targets through continuous improvement in existing systems. But achieving '80x50' reductions will require transformative and systemic changes in many core city systems."

- Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Copenhagen Meeting, June 2014

The Alliance is staffed by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) in partnership with the Innovation Network for Communities (INC), and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and is supported by the Kresge FoundationBarr Foundation, Bullitt Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationRockefeller Brothers FundSummit Foundation, and V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.  Johanna Partin serves as CNCA Director.

Contact CNCA  »


CNCA Member Cities:

Adelaide, Australia
Berlin, Germany
Boston MA, USA
Boulder CO, USA
Copenhagen, Denmark
London, United Kingdom
Melbourne, Australia
Minneapolis MN, USA
New York City NY, USA
Oslo, Norway
Portland OR, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
San Francisco CA, USA
Seattle WA, USA
Stockholm, Sweden
Sydney, Australia
Toronto, Canada
Vancouver, Canada
Washington DC, USA
Yokohama, Japan


The Alliance is staffed by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) 

in partnership with the Innovation Network for Communities (INC) and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40)