334 airports globally actively addressing carbon emissions –Report

Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)

334 airports globally are said to be actively addressing carbon emissions, according to the new Airport Carbon Accreditation Interim Report 2019-2020 recently released by the Airports Council International (ACI).

The report revealed a robust participation growth across all regions, illustrating the extent of the airport industry’s readiness to decarbonise even in the toughest of conditions.

The report noted that since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, 34 airports have been accredited for the first time and another 31 have progressed to a higher level of the programme. This trend is set to continue in 2021, driven by the enduring leadership of airports in CO2 management and reduction.

As the financial situation of airports across the world deteriorates rapidly, however, the necessary investments to cut carbon are weighed against survival. This will be a factor of concern for further decarbonisation in the sector and should be considered as one of the grounds for urgent government aid.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said “even as the impacts and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated passenger traffic and revenue at airports across the world, it is very heartening to see airports continue their commitment to decarbonization.

 “The industry is further demonstrating that efforts to address the climate emergency cannot wait for the pandemic to end and I commend the 334 airports actively addressing their carbon emissions in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.”

The Report explored one of last year’s main developments, aligning airport climate action with the ambition of the Paris Agreement. The introduction of two new accreditation levels – Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition have been documented through in-depth testimonies from the three trailblazing airports that already achieved these levels: Dallas Fort Worth International, Indira Gandhi International and Christchurch International.

To further outline the rationale behind the new levels and the stepped-up ambition of the programme, ACI had released a brand new animation.

The programme’s expanded framework providing airports with the tools and knowledge to pursue carbon reductions in line with the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement, following the pathways laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has been applauded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The report is released as an Interim Report because two programme reporting years have been merged, to support airports in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. This means that airports only need to renew their accreditations once between May 2019 and May 2021. Therefore, the programme cannot present full results for this reporting period yet.

Airport Carbon Accreditation is the only institutionally-endorsed, global carbon management certification programme for airports. It independently assesses and recognises the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions through 6 levels of certification: ‘Mapping’, ‘Reduction’, ‘Optimisation’, ‘Neutrality’, ‘Transformation’ and ‘Transition’.

Through its 6 levels of certification, Airport Carbon Accreditation acknowledges that airports are at different stages in their journey towards comprehensive carbon management. It is a programme for airports of all sizes, extending beyond hubs and regional airports with scheduled passenger traffic, to include general aviation and freight-focused airports.

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