20 airports account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions from global air transport
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20 airports account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions from global air transport

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Just 20 airports are responsible for 27% of total greenhouse gas emissions from the global passenger air transport sector, according to an analysis by think tanks and environmental NGOs International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), ODI and Transport and Environment (T&E).

Their “Airport Tracker,” published online, is based on a calculation of greenhouse gas emissions linked to the infrastructure of 1,300 airports around the world, but also and above all on the emissions produced by flights departing from these airports.

The report shows that the bases that generated the most greenhouse gases in 2019 concerning passenger transport are Dubai (with 16.6 million tonnes of CO2), London Heathrow (16.2 million), Los Angeles International (15.3), New York JFK (12.9), Paris Charles de Gaulle (11.5), Beijing (11.4), Hong Kong (11.3), Singapore (10.8), Frankfurt (10.6) and Seoul (10.4).

With 2.37 million tonnes of CO2 emitted by passenger flights from Brussels Airport Zaventem and 0.43 million tonnes from Charleroi, neither of Belgium’s two main airports is among the top 20 airports, according to the Airport Tracker.

Amsterdam Schiphol airport, in the Netherlands, is ranked 16th, with 8.11 million tonnes.

CO2 emissions from air transport reached one billion tonnes, or 2.5% of annual global emissions, in 2019. If this sector were a country, it would be the sixth-largest emitter, the report pointed out, underlining that flights departing from rich countries account for almost two-thirds of air passenger transport emissions.

Only one African airport is among the 100 largest emitters: Johannesburg Airport in South Africa, with 3.46 million tonnes.

While the coronavirus crisis has grounded many planes for the past year and a half, the report says that the aviation sector – whose emissions had grown by an average of 5% per year before the pandemic – “poses a serious threat to the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” which aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and if possible to 1.5°C.

The Brussels Times

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