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The estimated proportion of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions generated by air traffic is 2 to 3%, according to Airports Council International (ACI). But if air traffic numbers double as planned between now and 2035, this could reach 15 - 20% in 2050. Airports themselves only account for 3 to 5% of this proportion, but with their number continuing to rise, what lies ahead?
Airports Council International (ACI), steered by Europe, anticipated this predicament and launched an accreditation scheme in 2007 to reward airports that take measures to map, reduce, optimise and offset their carbon emissions. This programme takes airports on an improvement journey comprising four levels: the estimation of carbon emissions (level 1), the introduction of measures to reduce them within their scope of control (level 2), engaging with partners and airlines (level 3), and the final aim: achieving carbon neutrality (level 3+).
Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) is a voluntary initiative open to all airports in the world. In the network of concessions managed by Egis, the French airports of Brest and Quimper have committed to the programme (level 1) and the Cypriot airports of Larnaca and Paphos and Libreville airport in Gabon have reached level 2, while Abidjan International Airport in Ivory Coast has become the first and only carbon neutral airport in Africa (level 3+).
The aim of ACI Europe is to have 100 European airports certified at level 3+ between now and 2030 (27 today), which is twice as many as the target it set at COP 21.
The carbon accreditation programme provides a clear framework to help its current 237 airports around the world (43% of world passenger traffic) manage their emissions with a range of additional benefits: improved energy performance, reduced operational costs, an enhanced public image, etc.
Such is the importance of the issue that it has become fundamental for the airport community to aspire to low or zero-emission energy consumption models. In Larnaca, 96% of emissions are generated by electricity consumption. This is why our member airports constantly strive to improve lighting control, building insulation and HVAC systems and adopt renewable energy sources.
Airports make great efforts to align with the 1.5°C trajectory. They, too, are keen to contribute to the sustainable development of their community, in which they are an important economic stakeholder and the direct or indirect supplier of very many jobs. But they will only be able to play their role in full if all their stakeholders undertake to do better. Airport operators only exercise control over about 10% of emissions, whereas airport companies, landside assistance companies and other stakeholders generate the overwhelming proportion of emissions. Multilateral engagement, the purpose of the programme’s level 3, is therefore necessary so that low carbon airports might become the majority tomorrow. All stakeholders are aware of this and are working to these ends.
greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2012 for all aviation, mainly caused by increased air passenger traffic.