Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int. Airport and Rocky Mountain Institute Offset Air Travel Emissions

Environmental Economic measures

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is partnering with Rocky Mountain Institute and The Good Traveler to offset air travel by 18,000 metric tons of carbon emissions; the equivalent to 1,624 air miles offset for each of the 71,000 fan seats at Mercedes Benz Stadium for Super Bowl LIII on February 3. This is the first Super Bowl in which carbon emissions from the fans’ air travel to the game will be offset.

As one of the largest events in the United States, the number of emissions created by football fans can be tremendous. Every time a fan boards a plane for Super Bowl LIII, they will contribute to ever-increasing levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. Fortunately, The Good Traveler program is offsetting the emissions equivalent of over 115 million air miles, or taking 3,822 cars off the road for a year.

“Reducing and offsetting emissions is an on-going priority for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Airport has offset over 60,000 tons since 2017”, explains Michael Cheyne, Director of Asset Management and Sustainability at ATL. "We are excited about our partnerships with SB53 and Rocky Mountain Institute managed The Good Traveler Program. Our hope is that future Super Bowls and other major events will build on and exceed our commitment to resiliency.”

Carbon offsets are verified to neutralize the impact of the use of fossil fuels, such as air travel or road travel, by keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere at a project site. Offsets are the only option today (and an easy one) for air travelers to mitigate the CO2 impact of their flights. Flying is carbon intensive and can account for over 80 percent of direct emissions for the Super Bowl.

The fans’ carbon offsets will come from projects that make good use of waste, reduce greenhouse gases, and support the local community. Georgia-based Dalton-Whitfield and Wolfcreek landfill to energy projects reduce carbon pollution and provide a reliable source of renewable energy to local industry while providing enough power for 1500 homes.

For the foreseeable future, the aviation industry will rely on support from passengers, cities, and business to become sustainable through carbon offsets. The industry’s carbon emissions in the U.S. grew at 3 percent last year and global aviation emissions have been growing at about 5 percent annually over the last four years. Without intervention, aviation could comprise over 20 percent of the global carbon budget by mid-century.

RMI manages The Good Traveler program which is the only airport-founded and aviation-focused carbon offset program that empowers airports, organizations, cities, and individuals to mitigate the climate impact of travel. In 2018, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport joined the program’s airport advisory board, which serves 410 million passengers annually, and includes Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Port of Seattle, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, San Diego International Airport (the program’s founder) and San Francisco International Airport.

“Hartsfield-Jackson and the City of Atlanta have raised the climate leadership bar for professional sports championships,” said Adam Klauber, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute. “Bold actions from airports can help us avoid relying solely on a desperate Hail Mary-pass to keep our planet below 2°C of warming.”

The City of Atlanta understands the need to reduce those emissions entering our atmosphere and has committed to offset 39,682,800 lbs. of CO2 (18,000 MT) through Rocky Mountain Institute and The Good