Airports step up climate efforts in line with the Paris Agreement

Bernie Baldwin

Airports are proactively engaging in climate action via ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

Airports Council International (ACI) has announced developments to its Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme, highlighting the advances made by the global airport community to address climate change.

Against the background of climate impact worsening, and the window to limit an average global rise in temperature to +1.5°C rapidly closing, ACI is focussing even more on moving from commitment to concrete and tangible action. Airports have worked to reduce carbon emissions under the ACA since 2009 and have achieved emissions reductions under their direct control year after year.

In 2020, ACI launched the first major, structural change to the programme since its inception: two new accreditation levels – Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition, linking airports’ climate efforts with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Since their launch, 20 airports had achieved the two new levels by November 2022, when ACI announced that another five airports – four from Europe – have met all the stringent requirements to receive these accolades. Level 4+ was achieved by London City (UK) and Lyon (France) airports, while San Francisco International (USA), Marseille Provence (France) and Zurich (Switzerland) airports secured Level 4.

All these efforts made by airports within the ACA programme have been applauded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Across the whole ACA programme, the following airports have recently achieved new accreditations at a variety of levels – Maastricht Aachen Airport in the Netherlands (Level 2), Ängelholm Helsingborg Airport in Sweden (Level 3+), AurillacTronquières Airport (Level 2) and Le PuyenVelay Loudes Airport (Level 2) in France. Three Brazilian airports: Florianópolis Hercílio Luz, Vitoria International and Macaé–Joaquim de Azevedo Mancebo have joined at Level 1.

ACI says that the “momentum for airport climate action can also be measured through upgrades achieved at the initial levels of the framework”. Examples in Europe include Aberdeen Airport in Scotland, which has been upgraded to Level 3+ ‘Neutrality’.

SaintNazaire Montoir and Nantes Atlantique airports in France have met the demands of Level 3 ‘Optimisation’. Level 2 ‘Reduction’ was achieved by La Rochelle, Ancenis, Le HavreOcteville and Limoges airports in France.

More than 90 European Airports have set 2030 as a target date for achieving net zero carbon emissions under their control.

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