Europe’s airports target carbon-neutrality by 2050, planes not included

(EurActiv, 26 Jun 2019) Nearly 200 European airports in 45 countries pledged on Wednesday (26 June) to drastically slash their greenhouse gas output by 2050. However, the target only includes airport infrastructure and not aircraft.

Airport Council International Europe, which represents many of Europe’s airports, said the carbon-neutral strategy aligns the sector with the Paris Agreement by putting climate change at the heart of business decisions.

Outgoing President Michael Kerkloh said that “it’s an absolute must” for all industries and confirmed that 140 of his organisation’s members have committed to the net-zero emissions goal. Swedish airport group Swedavia has already achieved it.

The number of airports pledging cuts by 2050 increases from the 100 that made the same promise in 2017, although the deadline for carbon-neutrality then was 2030.

But the goals do not include the main emission-creating culprits in the aviation sector: the aircraft themselves. Emissions from airports only make up around 5% of the sector’s total footprint.

Airports will attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by improving the energy efficiency of buildings and using electric vehicles that can run on renewable energy. Stockholm’s express trainlink runs on clean energy, for example.

Kerkloh added that imposing taxes on aviation “would do nothing” to reduce aircraft emissions and instead urged manufacturers to work towards cleaner planes through technological solutions.

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EurActiv, 26 Jun 2019: Europe’s airports target carbon-neutrality by 2050, planes not included