By Jacobs

Even as we respond to other pressing global challenges, climate change remains one of the biggest threats to life on this planet as we know it. In the next 10 to 15 years, we face the very real scenario of average global temperature increases exceeding the 1.5-degree warming threshold set out in Paris in 2015. The need for coordinated and decisive action to decarbonise our economy and society on a global scale has never been more urgent.

Cities are a fundamental component of our modern economy and society. They are also major contributors to climate change, consuming 78% of the world’s energy and producing more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. For this reason, decarbonising cities and the activity that takes place within their geographic boundaries is a critical step along the path to global net-zero emissions. At the same time, we know decarbonisation is just one of many challenges cities face.

Jacobs’ new paper titled Beyond Carbon: A holistic approach to net-zero cities outlines how embracing a more holistic, programmatic approach to decarbonisation, and investing in local carbon reduction and removal projects, could help cities accelerate their transition to net-zero and deliver co-benefits that address other challenges.

By embracing a more collaborative and holistic approach to decarbonisation and moving past net-zero projects and assets, diverse city stakeholders could deliver collaborative cross-sector solutions to work towards net zero neighbourhoods and districts. By looking for synergies between projects and stakeholders, we could create a wide range of local projects that help reduce emissions at their source and at all scales—individual buildings, city block, neighbourhood, district, and city-wide.

By drawing on program management principles and approaches, the paper provides a roadmap for cities to implement this approach to accelerate their transition to net-zero at all scales and leave a lasting legacy in communities.

This “whole systems” or “programmatic approach” is based on an evolution of well-established program management principles. These principles are already being used to solve big and complex challenges and successfully deliver megaprojects and programs around the globe. The same approach can be applied to city decarbonisation.

Read the full paper here: Beyond Carbon: A holistic approach to net-zero cities (PDF, 13 MB)

Meet the Author
Daniel Render – Global Technology Leader, Sustainable Program Management.
Daniel is an architect and sustainability professional with a passion for creating innovative solutions that deliver long-term sustainable outcomes for his clients and the communities they serve.
We chatted with Daniel – see what he had to say about his vision for a more sustainable world here.
Since joining Jacobs, Daniel has undertaken a range of project leadership roles, including Sustainability Director and Design Director roles for projects spanning the built environment sectors and on a number of mega programs, including the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. He is currently Director of Sustainability & Innovation for Expo 2020 Dubai.

Other related news – Jacobs Climate Action Plan, ESG Disclosure Report and Jacobs Ranked Top Global Environmental Consulting Firm.

About Jacobs
At Jacobs, we’re challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing, turning abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. With $14 billion in revenue and a talent force of approximately 55,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector. Visit and connect with Jacobs on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Get in touch:
Juliet Woodward, Director Jacobs New Zealand