More airports commit to fighting climate change


A total of 246 airports have committed to fighting climate change and 44 have already achieved climate neutrality under the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme run by Airport Council International (ACI).
Under the programme, which recently releases its annual report, airports pledge to measure, manage and reduce the carbon emissions from their operations, with the ultimate goal of becoming climate neutral. Some 48 airports joined the scheme in the 12-month period ending May 2018, a 25 percent jump from the previous year.
“With 48 new airports in the programme in 2017, the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme has never seen such annual momentum,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World. “The 246 airports now accredited across the four levels of the programme welcomed 3.3 billion passengers last year, which represents 44.2 percent of global passenger traffic. All of those airports engaged in climate action voluntarily.”
Under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, governments agreed to shift the planet toward a pathway that keeps the maximum global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
A balance, known as “climate neutrality” must be achieved in the second half of this century between global emissions and removals in order to achieve this goal.
To reduce their carbon emissions, airport operators need to consider the full extent of the emissions sources under their direct control. This can include investment in more energy efficient lighting, heating, switching to hybrid or electric ground vehicles, onsite renewables, and better energy management.
“Climate action by industry is critical to addressing the escalating threat of climate change – everyone has their part to play,” said Niclas Svenningsen, Manager, Global Climate Action at UN Climate Change in welcoming the report. “The airport industry’s work through Airport Carbon Accreditation provides an example of an industry that is actively engaged in climate action, through independent certification, but also through the knowledge that airports gain from each other, as they try new solutions and technology to lower their carbon emissions.”
From May 2017 to May 2018, accredited airports succeeded in reducing the CO2 emissions under their direct control by a total of 347,000 tonnes. To put that in perspective, it would take more than eight million trees planted over 10 years to absorb the equivalent amount of CO2.
With four levels of accreditation covering all stages of carbon management (mapping, reduction, optimization and neutrality), the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is independently administered, institutionally-endorsed and has the support of UN Climate Change, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Civil Aviation Organization, US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Commission.