250 airports take global action to address climate change

Airports Council International (ACI) have released an update on the latest developments for the community of 259 airports which are now actively engaged in addressing their impact on climate change.

The airports currently sit within the global carbon management standard, Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA). This follows on from last month’s COP24 UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland.

Niclas Svenningsen, head of Climate Neutral Now initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC) secretariat in Bonn, Germany, said: “Following the conclusions of the IPCC report and COP24, the need to address the escalating threat of climate change is ever more urgent. The airport industry’s work through the ACA program is an example of global private sector engagement in climate action—now with 259 airports on board.”

According to Mr Svenningsen, 167 of those are actively reducing their emissions, 102 of them have also engaged others on the airport site to get involved and 49 are running carbon neutral airport operations.

Aeroporto di Napoli in Italy is the most recent airport operator to become carbon neutral, after gradually making its way through the different levels of ACA, demonstrating the CO2 reduction made on-site and the engagement of aviation partners, it has invested in Gold Standard offsets to address its remaining residual emissions. The airport was the 40th in Europe to run by a carbon neutral airport operator and operators of 49 airports are carbon neutral worldwide.

Armando Brunini, chief executive officer of Aeroporto di Napoli, said: “With climate change now an urgent priority, it’s only fitting that we should seek to exceed expectations on this as a way of motivating even more climate action within the airport industry and the wider air transport sector.”

There are four different levels of accreditation covering the stages of carbon management: 1 mapping, 2 reduction, 3 optimisation and 4 neutrality. ACA is independently administered, institutionally-endorsed and is supported by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Commission.

Carbon neutral airports at Level 3+ of the program must provide evidence of undertaking all actions required by the program (mapping their emissions, reducing them and engaging others on the airport site), before investing in responsible carbon offsets.

ACI reported that the 44 carbon neutral airports during year-nine of the program, between May 2017 and May 2018, offset 672,000 tons of CO2 in residual emissions.