Dealing with the other side of climate change

Environmental Climate solutions

This website talks a lot about the many things the aviation industry is doing to reduce its environmental impact - including importantly on reducing emissions from air transport operations. But as I walked in to the ACI World Annual General Assembly being held in Seoul, I noticed that the South Korean Government was holding another conference in the rooms next door - this one is about preparing for the effects of climate change.

The conference, being run by the National Emergency Management Agency, looks at the ways in which government, businesses and the citizens of South Korea can best prepare for the kinds of changes expected if the worst impacts of climate change took place.

Our sector also has some thinking to do in this area. Whilst we are rightly concentrating on the important work to reduce (or mitigate) the aviation sector's 2% of carbon emissions, we also should spend some time thinking about how the changes we might see will also impact aviation and how we will need to adapt our industry.

Now, it is impossible to know exactly what kind of changes we will face: rising sea levels could impact low-lying airports; changing weather patterns could mean a shift in tourism to different destinations; increased storminess could mean more disruption to air routes and operational impacts; even things like higher temperatures can have an impact on the length of runway needed for aircraft to take off.

Aviation, and particularly airports, are long-term businesses that must think for the future when developing infrastructure. Whilst we may not have a lot of clarity or certainty about where and when we will see climate change impacts, it is important for us to at least consider them in long-term planning. We can all take a lesson from the South Korean Government in this area.