Europe’s Airport Industry Commits to Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

ACI EUROPE unveiled a Resolution formally committing the European airport industry to become net zero for carbon emissions under its control by 2050, at the latest. With this commitment, Europe’s airports are responding to the Climate Emergency – and acting upon the latest scientific evidence presented by the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

ACI EUROPE is the European region of Airports Council International (ACI), representing over 500 airports in 45 European countries. The trade body facilitates over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe.

The pledge is backed up so far by 194 airports run by 40 airport operators across 24 European countries – with each of them individually committing to the same objective. This marks a step change in the climate action of the airport industry. Based on Europe’s airports current traffic volumes (2.34 billion passengers welcomed in 2018) and estimated carbon footprint, this net zero commitment will eliminate a total of 3.46 million tons of annual CO2 emissions as of 2050.

Dr Michael Kerkloh, President of ACI Europe and CEO of Munich Airport commented, “With its NetZero2050 commitment, the airport industry is aligning itself with the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the vast majority of EU countries. “

“Europe’s airports have already started delivering, and I am confident that many will reach net zero before 2050.” He added, “There are already 3 net zero airports in Europe: Luleå, Ronneby and Visby, operated by the Swedish airport operator, Swedavia. Swedavia aims to achieve net zero emissions for all its airports including Stockholm-Arlanda by 2020 along with Hamburg airport by 2022- while Amsterdam-Schiphol, Eindhoven and Copenhagen airports have set this goal for 2030.”

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change said “The IPCC Special Report from last October is unequivocal about the need to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century. We need all sectors of society working towards this ultimate goal. It is therefore encouraging to see the airport industry voluntarily raising its ambitions and we look forward to working with this vital sector.”

The commitment raises the stakes as airport operators will not have the possibility to purchase offset credits to reach net zero status. ACI EUROPE sees offsetting as a 

temporary measure to address residual emissions that airports will need to gradually replace by in-sector reductions as new decarbonisation technologies and opportunities arise.

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