Air Quality, Sustainability & Adaptive Strategies

  • Air Quality & Sustainability
  • Adaptive Strategies

Air Quality & Sustainability

Photo of The GWB

Air quality and climate change are often linked especially at the Port Authority where most of our emissions come from the combustion of diesel, gasoline and other fossil fuels to power Agency and tenant facilities and equipment. The Port Authority is actively reducing emissions to protect public health and combat global climate change.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Criteria Air Pollutant (CAP) Emissions

In a pioneering move for a public agency, the Port Authority established a Sustainability Policy committing to reduce GHG emissions from Agency, tenant and customer operations by 80% by 2050 using 2006 as our baseline. The Sustainability Policy complements existing efforts, such as the Clean Air Strategy, to reduce CAP emissions.

Port Authority CO2e Emissions (Metric Tons)

We are reducing emissions directly through capital investments, such as purchasing green vehicles, and operational efficiencies, like reducing energy consumption. The Port Authority is also using financial products, such as carbon offsets and verified emissions reductions (VERs), to support innovative green technology and jobs, and reduce emissions within the Port District and the New York and New Jersey region. With expert help from a technical advisory panel, we are also rigorously evaluating all of these financial instruments for environmental quality and social and health benefits. Since 2008, the Port Authority has purchased approximately 215,000 carbon offsets.

GHG and CAP Inventories

To track our progress toward this goal, the Port Authority completes annual GHG Inventories. These Inventories also track CAP emissions to ensure both classes of pollutants are decreasing Port-Authority wide. The inventories measure Port Authority direct and indirect emissions, known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as well as tenant and customer emissions, known as Scope 3 emissions.

2006 GHG and CAP Inventory

2007 GHG and CAP Inventory

2008 GHG and CAP Inventory

2008 GHG and CAP Summary

2010 GHG and CAP Inventory

2011 GHG and CAP Inventory

Port Authority Agency Direct and Indirect Scope 1 + 2 GHG Emissions (2011)

Tenant and Customer Scope 3 GHG Emissions (2008)

In 2010, the Port Authority joinedThe Climate Registry (TCR), a nationally recognized inventory registry. We submitted our first verified inventory to TCR in 2012.

Climate Change Adaptation

In addition to reducing GHG emissions, the Port Authority is developing strategies to reduce the risks, such as increased flooding and storm surges, more frequent storms and heat waves, and sea level rise, posed by climate change to Port Authority facilities and regional transportation infrastructure.

A recent PowerPoint presented at the New York Academy of Sciences illustrates many of the Port Authority's adaption strategies. We are pursuing direct facility strengthening, such as raising the Bayonne Bridge, creating redundancy for energy supplies and communication networks, investing in renewable energy to decrease our reliance on the grid, and protecting coastal habitats to provide natural buffers.

Adapting to Climate Change: Practical Strategies at the Port Authority


Because the Port Authority and our tenants and customers rely on the regional transportation system, we cannot act alone to reduce climate change's risks.

As a member of the New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, we are using scientific projections of climate change impacts (e.g., sea-level rise, storm surge) to identify and prioritize risks to facilities and operations and to develop strategies to adapt to or mitigate those impacts. A recent article published in Civil Engineering "Anticipating Climate Change" presents a summary of the Port Authority's participation on the Task Force and lessons learned for Port facilities.

The agency also supported ClimAID, a study funded by New York State that assesses the potential impacts of climate change statewide, and identifies ways to mitigate them.

The Port Authority also provided extensive input to the New York State Climate Change Action Council and the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force. Both groups have released recent studies examining ways New York State can both respond to and reduce the risks associated with climate change.

New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report

Port Authority Comments for Climate Action Plan

NY State Sea Level Rise Task Force Report

Port Authority Comments Sea Level Rise Task Force Report

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