Climate action and climate resilience are two sides of the same challenge for airports around the world, says ACI
Wed 10 Oct 2018 – The number of airports worldwide engaged in the sector’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme has risen to 246 over the past year, representing a 25% increase over the previous year. Collectively, those airports managed to reduce their CO2 emissions by 347,000 tonnes. The programme has four levels of accreditation and 48 have now achieved the highest carbon neutral status. Of those, 44 airports have reported offsetting 672,000 tonnes of CO2 during the latest year of the programme, which was originally launched by trade body ACI Europe in June 2009. Meanwhile, ACI World has published a policy brief to encourage airports to conduct risk assessments, consider various adaptation measures and develop mitigation strategies for the potential impact of climate change on their infrastructure and operations.
“Airports around the world recognise that climate resilience and climate action are two sides of the same challenge,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World, at last week’s Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva.
The four levels of Airport Carbon Accreditation – mapping, reduction, optimisation and neutrality – are designed to cover all stages of carbon management. The programme is independently administered by consultancy WSP and has the support of the UNFCCC, UNEP, ICAO, US FAA and the European Commission.
“Our efforts to empower aviation to address its carbon emissions rely on the participation of as many actors in the sector as possible,” commented Dr Fang Liu, ICAO’s Secretary General. “ICAO follows the progress of ACI’s programme with keen interest. Its growing success – with emissions under the airports’ direct control being reduced by 5.3% in the past year – is worthy of heartfelt congratulations to all involved.”
Added Gittens: “The 246 airports now accredited across the four levels welcomed 3.3 billion passengers last year, which represents 44.2% of global passenger traffic. All of those airports engaged in climate action voluntarily.
“This collective effort is based on the airports industry making environmental stewardship a priority and it is making a difference. From May 2017 to May 2018, accredited airports succeeded in collectively reducing the CO2 emissions under their direct control by 347,026 tonnes. To put that achievement in perspective, it would take more than 8 million trees planted over 10 years to absorb the equivalent amount of CO2.”
A report of Year 9 of the programme has just been published by ACI.
The resilience and adaptation policy brief has been produced to support airport operators and help them better understand the risks related to more adverse weather events, and consider conducting risk assessments to define their adaptation plans for both existing and new infrastructure and operations. ACI says it will help airport management teams across different departments through case studies of best practice adopted at airports in Norway, Australia, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Amsterdam and Singapore.
It also provides recommendations, an extensive rundown of potential climate stressors and their related potential impacts, and a non-exhaustive list of airports that have already started to work on climate change resilience and adaptation.
Recent weather events have brought the issue into even sharper focus, noted Gittens. “It is well understood that climate change could have far-reaching effects and airports are certainly not immune to them,” she said. “The aim of this policy brief is to provide airports with practical information, advice and real-life examples that they can use to examine their own practices. Each airport can then make decisions on how they may introduce, improve or adapt their own procedures and resilience plans that best suit their infrastructure and local conditions.”
The policy brief addresses an intention of a resolution passed by ACI members at their annual World Assembly in June that recognised the potential impact of climate change on airport infrastructure and operations.
Airport Carbon Accreditation participating airports as of May 2018 (graphic: ACI)