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More European Airports Reducing Carbon Footprint

More European Airports Reducing Carbon FootprintMore European Airports Reducing Carbon Footprint

At the COP21 climate change discussions in Paris this week, the European airport industry committed to raising the number of carbon-neutral airports in Europe to 50 by the year 2030.

To attain carbon neutrality, a facility must emit no net carbon, often by offsetting its emissions with some other clean energy source – for example, replacing fossil fuels with solar panels, Air Cargo World reported.

The intergovernmental panel on climate change reported that aviation’s total carbon dioxide emissions amount to 2% of global emissions. Airport operations account for up to 5% of that total, the panel said.

There are 20 carbon-neutral airports in Europe at present. These include Avinor Oslo and Tondheim Airports in Norway; Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Eindhoven Airports in the Netherlands; Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate and Venice Airport in Italy; Ankara Esenboga and ICF Antalya Airport in Turkey; and all 10 airports operated by Swedavia AB in Sweden.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation program was launched in Europe in 2009. Accreditation certifies airports at four different levels which are mapping, reduction, optimization, and neutrality.  There are 93 airports in Europe.

Airports Council International Europe president and Aeroports de Paris chief executive Augustin de Romanet said “Europe’s airports are fully behind the objective of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.”

According to travel news website Skift, the air transport industry has set targets to address CO2 levels that include an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020, a cap on net aviation carbon emissions from 2020, and a reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.

Many airlines have also committed themselves to helping to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment by reducing carbon footprint in their operations, including through the purchase of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

However, as a global industry, aviation faces challenges in universal compliance in line with the different positions of sovereign nations on the standards to reduce CO2 emissions.