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Ahead of new climate change negotiations due to take place in Paris at the end of this year, a new report has been released by Airports Council International that says more airports have signed up to an international industry carbon management initiative to monitor, reduce, or even neutralize their carbon footprints.
The Airport Carbon Accreditation initiative, launched in 2009, had 125 participating airports at the end of June 2015, an increase of 22 percent year-on-year.
The efforts of airports that have agreed to take part in the initiative are reviewed each year, with four different levels of accreditation awarded to the airports. These reflect the stage that the airports are at in terms of their carbon management efforts: mapping, reduction, optimization, and neutrality.
The ratings are independently administered and institutionally endorsed and have been supported by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations Environmental Panel, and the European Union.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe, and Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI World, said: "These airports are reporting on their carbon management activities every year and they have mobilized on this of their own accord. And it's not just the bigger hubs like Dubai, Heathrow, Hong Kong, Paris CDG, Istanbul-Atatürk, Seattle-Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, and Schiphol – the program has certified a huge number of smaller airports like Eindhoven, Enfidha Hammamet, Farnborough, Hat Yai International, Malmö, Portland-Troutdale, and Puerto Vallarta."
"An impressive 1.7 billion passengers now travel through airports certified at one of the four levels of the program – that's 27.5 percent of global air passenger traffic. Most promisingly 22 airports advanced up a level of the program in the past year, making further progress in the way they manage their carbon emissions. In the past year, these airports have succeeded in reducing the CO2 emissions under their direct control by 212,460 tonnes of CO2. That's equivalent to the annual CO2 sequestered by 1,495 acres of forest."
Jankovec added: "Here in Europe, where the initiative first launched in June 2009, there are now 92 airports in the program. They welcome 63.9 percent of European passenger traffic annually. European airports are leading the way on this and the engagement and progress have been tremendous, as can be seen from the fact that 20 of those airports are now carbon neutral."
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