Industry commitment intact, but uncertainty is mounting
The Report reveals robust participation growth across all world regions in the pandemic-stricken year, illustrating the extent of airport industry’s readiness to decarbonise in the toughest of conditions. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, 34 airports have become accredited for the first time and another 31 have progressed to a higher level of the programme. This trend is set to remain in 2021, driven by the long-lasting leadership of airports in CO2 management and reduction. However, as the financial situation of airports across the world deteriorates rapidly, the necessary investments to cut carbon are weighed against bare bones survival. This will be a factor of concern for further decarbonisation in the sector and should be considered as one of the grounds for urgent government aid.
Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, said: “As the industry that has been hardest hit by COVID-19, that will take the longest to recover and that is the hardest to decarbonise, aviation should be a prime beneficiary of State support to continue their work in this regard. The new Airport Carbon Accreditation Interim Report has delivered another case in point for airports’ proven track record on the path to decarbonisation. Even as resources dried up airports kept engaging. However, with the prospect of recovery almost as remote as at the beginning of the crisis, such commitment and engagement cannot be taken for granted. We all know we cannot wait for the health crisis to dissipate to address the accelerating Climate Emergency. Yet at the same time the relentless devastation suffered by the airport sector risks impeding their ability to act and Government help is both vital and urgent.”
Alignment with the Paris Agreement and cooperation with the UNFCCC
The Report zooms in on one of last year’s main developments, aligning airport climate action with the ambition of the Paris Agreement. The introduction of two new accreditation levels - Level 4 Transformation and Level 4+ Transition has been documented through in-depth testimonies from the three trailblazing airports who already achieved these levels: Dallas Fort Worth International, Indira Gandhi International and Christchurch International. To further outline the rationale behind the new levels and the stepped up ambition of the programme, ACI has today released a brand new animation.
The programme’s expanded framework providing airports with the tools and knowledge to pursue carbon reductions in line with the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement, following the pathways laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has been applauded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Niclas Svennigsen, who heads the Climate Neutral Now initiative at the UNFCCC Secretariat said: “Airports have been severely hit by the Covid-19 crisis and yet, they are continuing their efforts to decarbonise and align with the global climate targets. Non-stakeholder climate action is an important part of our collective endeavour to cut emissions and limit the disastrous effects of climate change. The climate crisis has not gone on hold while we grapple with the pandemic, therefore we need to move faster and achieve deeper transformation of our industry and economy quicker. I commend airports for their leadership in this regard; a signal that can set an example for others to follow with ambitious climate action.”