Quality & Emissions Reductions

  • Air Quality & Sustainability
  • Adaptive Strategies

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Criteria Air Pollutant (CAP) Inventory Report: A Leader in Global Transportation Takes the Lead in Reducing GHG and CAP Emissions

The Port Authority's standing as a leader in global transportation, trade, and economic development drives our environmental stewardship goals. In this report, you will learn how the Port Authority is taking the lead in conducting its operations in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts while enhancing regional transportation and the movement of goods.

The Port Authority adheres to a Sustainability Policy that explicitly addresses the issue of climate change and ensures that our agency maintains an aggressive posture in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and Criteria Air Pollutant (CAP) emissions within the region.  The Sustainability Policy complements other existing agency efforts, including the Clean Air Strategy to reduce CAP emissions.  The Port Authority seeks to decrease emissions by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy options, instituting advanced technology, reducing waste and water use, and developing sustainable design and construction guidelines.

A Focus on GHGs and CAPs

To protect public health and combat global climate change, a primary focus of the Port Authority’s Sustainability Policy is greenhouse gas emissions abatement.  Most of the greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emissions resulting from our operations come from the production and consumption of energy, such as transportation fuels, electricity, and natural gas by our agency as well as tenant and customer emissions. Greenhouse gases are gases (i.e. carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) that trap heat in the atmosphere and make the planet warmer. Not only does it make the planet warmer, but it also leads to sea level rise, drought, heat, storm surge, and precipitation changes. In the United States, transportation is the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions (27% of 2013 greenhouse gas emissions), behind electricity (31% of 2013 greenhouse gas emissions). [1] Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Criteria air pollutants include the six most common air pollutants in the U.S., which are ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and lead. They come from a variety of sources and can harm public health and the environment.

In our Sustainability Policy, the Port Authority committed to reduce GHG emissions from agency, tenant, and customer operations by 80 percent by 2050, using 2006 as the baseline. To help meet this voluntary commitment, the Port Authority completes and publishes annual GHG and CAP inventories, the first of which was completed in 2006, to assess whether GHGs and CAP emissions are decreasing Port Authority-wide. The 2006 Inventory Report was instrumental in identifying the initial inventory boundary for Port Authority operations, as well as those for key tenants and customers. The Port Authority commissioned additional GHG and CAP studies, culminating with the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 inventories. The Port Authority is currently in the process of working on the 2014 inventory. 

Click here to view each of the GHG and CAP inventories

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. Most importantly, these inventories provide the public with the transparency needed to monitor the agency's progress in reducing GHG and CAP emissions.

Making an Impact Everyday

Every day the Port Authority reaffirms its commitment to safeguarding the environment through leadership and action. Each of the Port Authority's facilities is pursuing capital and operating strategies that address air, land, water quality, and other environmental matters. Our goal is to reduce energy use and dependence on fossil fuel-generated power, thereby reducing emissions, increasing efficiency, and reducing operational costs. The following innovative initiatives implemented throughout our agency demonstrate how each day the Port Authority is making an impact in minimizing the effect of our operations on the environment. 


  • Surface Congestion Management (SCM) system at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport – The Port Authority, in partnership with airlines operating at JFK, deployed a Surface Congestion Management system in 2010. This system helps to maximize departure capacity and reduce fuel use and secondary deicing by aircraft. As a result, carriers at the airport have realized measureable cost savings through fuel savings, reduced delays, reduced deicer use, and optimizing aircraft scheduling procedures. In fact, the system demonstrated estimated annual savings of 4.2 million gallons of aviation fuel, 48,000 metric tons of CO2, and 17,000 hours of taxi-out time. In 2012, the JFK ground management program won the 2012 Airports Council International-North America Environmental Achievement Award.
  • KLM Biofuels Initiative – On August 22, KLM flew the last flight in a series of 26 weekly flights from JFK to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport using a blend of sustainable aviation biofuel. JFK's maintenance unit played a key role in solving the logistical challenge of loading 103 metric tons of aviation biofuel onto weekly B777-200 flights from March to August 2013. The biofuel was sourced within the US from used cooking oil, as well as camelina, an oilseed crop. Each gallon of biofuel used contributed a 70 - 80% reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional fuels, even when considering the additional transportation logistics needed to deliver the fuel to the airport. The Port Authority contributed dedicated refuelers to the effort, as well as in-kind contributions of fueling services. The Aviation Department is investigating ways to integrate aviation biofuels into the permanent fueling infrastructure at each airport.
  • Solar Photovoltaic System at Stewart Airport – The Port Authority installed an 82kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the Main Terminal Building at Stewart Airport. This renewable on-site power generation supplies supplemental electrical power to the building all year long.
  • LED Outdoor Lighting at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport – The Port Authority replaced over 1,000 outdoor lighting fixtures with high efficiency LED fixtures.  These fixtures use less energy, have a longer life span (which reduces maintenance costs), and provide even light distribution.
  • Energy Efficient HVAC Equipment at Newark Liberty International Airport – The Port Authority, with its Energy Service Company (ESCO) Honeywell Building Solutions, replaced old inefficient mechanical equipment with high efficiency equipment. The new equipment included condensing boilers, variable frequency drives (VFD) for fans and pumps, high efficiency motors, energy management & control systems and demand control ventilation systems. These improvements reduced both energy and maintenance costs.


PATH Rail Car
  • Lighting Improvements The Port Authority replaced approximately 860 lighting fixtures with high-efficiency fixtures (LED and T8) and installed approximately 30 occupancy-based lighting controls. The new fixtures are energy efficient and have a longer life span, resulting in energy savings and less maintenance.
  • Energy Efficient Transformers – The agency replaced 79 transformers with high-efficiency transformers that have less heat loss and better part-load efficiency thus saving energy.
  • JSTC Window Retrofit – The agency retrofitted 765 windows at the JSTC office tower to reduce infiltration and thermal loss. The retrofitted windows resulted in energy savings on the HVAC systems and provided better comfort for the occupants.
  • Computer Monitor Upgrade – The agency upgraded 108 CRTs monitors at the JSTC Control Center with LCD monitors. The upgrade reduced energy consumption on the monitors and space cooling.

Port Commerce

Port Commerce
  • Idle Reduction and Cargo Handling Equipment – The Port Authority instituted an Idle Reduction Program at all marine container terminals, which restricted idling times of diesel powered cargo handling equipment through automatic shutoff devices and electric plug-in technology. In addition, the agency also completed the modernization of all cargo handling equipment used by terminal operators leasing space from the Port Authority.
  • Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles (Trucks) – The agency is spearheading a program that phases out the older, most polluting trucks based on model year serving Port Authority marine terminal facilities.

Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals

  • Energy Performance Project: Port Authority Bus Terminal and Lincoln Tunnel – The Port Authority and Constellation Energy partnered to implement energy conservation measures in the lighting systems and building envelope of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Lincoln Tunnel. One highlight of the project was a complete LED (Light-emitting diode) lighting retrofit of the Lincoln Tunnel. The total scope included other lighting and envelope improvements at the Bus Terminal and connected facilities. These energy efficiency improvements will result in annual energy savings of more than 4 million kWh and 15,000 MMBtu and will save nearly $1 million annually. For this project, the Port Authority received the BuildSmart NY 2014 Innovation & Excellence in Energy Management Award.
  • PABT Quality of Commute (QoC) Improvement Program – As part of the QoC effort, terminal operations personnel, Port Authority Police Department, and agency bus carrier tenants joined forces to enforce "just on time" arrivals for buses. Early arriving buses create congestion within the terminal and its approach ramps, creating extensive queues that result in frequent idling and air pollution. Early arriving buses are now directed out of the building, thereby improving bus movement and reducing idling.
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) – ITS enables TBT to communicate problems to the traveling public and advise them of alternative routes or to reduce speeds. The system reduces travel times, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, and waste. TBT has deployed facility-based ITS at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, and Holland Tunnel, and has plans to implement these systems in both the Bayonne Bridge and the Goethals Bridge modifications programs.

Central Automotive Division

  • In 2013, the Port Authority was in the top three for the Government Green Fleet awards. Of 2,270 vehicles in agency's fleet that use fuel, 81.6% run on alternative energy or fuel types other than gasoline. The breakdown follows:
    • The agency's fleet is 60% light duty vehicles (1,361/2,270) of which 76.9% use energy sources or fuel types other than gasoline, the majority being Flex-Fuel (46.4%) and Hybrid-fuel (20.8%)
    • 76.4% of 106 medium duty vehicles use alternative energy sources or fuel types, with 70.8% running on bio-diesel
    • 95% of heavy-duty vehicles run on biodiesel, with no vehicles using gasoline. Most off-road vehicles also run on bio-diesel.


  • The Port Authority has implemented sustainable building and sustainable infrastructure guidelines. The sustainable building guidelines are required for both Port Authority and tenant capital projects; the sustainable infrastructure guidelines are required only for agency capital projects, not for tenant capital projects.
  • A new standard specification in Port Authority construction contracts requires the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel, the retrofit of equipment of 50 horsepower or more, and a three-minute idling limit.
  • Port Authority contracts require the recycling of at least 75% of selected construction and demolition waste (asphalt, concrete, steel, non-hazardous soil) by weight. Contractors must submit a recycling plan that details how the waste will be reused or recycled.


2013 Inventory Report Overview

GHG Emissions by Source

The 2013 GHG Inventory Report provides critical data on the source of GHG emissions. Data shows that in 2013 Port Authority total scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions are approximately 272,045 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gases (CO2e). In 2013, 76.3% of the Port Authority's total emissions are scope 2 and 23.7% are scope 1. The largest contribution to Port Authority GHG emissions is electricity consumption, which represents 71.5% of total emissions. The "other" category includes:

  • Other-refrigeration/fire suppression
  • Landfill gas
  • Emergency generators and fire pumps
  • Welding gases

Figure 1: 2013 Breakdown of Emissions by Source

Figure 1: 2013 Breakdown of Emissions by Source

GHG Emissions by Line Business

The 2013 GHG Inventory Report provides the breakdown of total GHG emissions by department. The Aviation Department accounts for a majority of Port Authority emissions, with 55.7% of reportable emissions largely due to the quantity of electricity and fuel used to power and heat large airport terminals. Emissions from PATH, 19.9%, are the second highest due to electricity used as traction power for the rail system. Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals contribute 11.4% because of indirect emissions from purchased electricity and steam.  Central administration functions contribute another 8.2%, due primarily to fuel combustion by the Port Authority fleet.

Figure 2: 2013 Breakdown of Total GHG Emissions by Line Business

Figure 1: 2013 Breakdown of Emissions by Source

GHG Emissions and Electricity Consumption Trends

Between 2006 and 2013, the Port Authority reduced its emissions by approximately 40,204 metric tons CO2e. In addition, between 2006 and 2013 the Port Authority reduced its electricity consumption by approximately 148,589 megawatt hours.

More specifically, the Port Authority’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon footprint has decreased since 2010 at an annual average rate of 2.3 percent. Sustained electricity consumption savings every year are driving this declining emission trend. However, in 2013, an uptake in natural gas consumption attributed to variations in weather and operating conditions resulted in a slight increase of total GHG emissions of 1.85 percent.

Figure 3: GHG Emissions and Electricity Consumption Trends, 2006-2013

Figure 1: 2013 Breakdown of Emissions by Source

GHG emissions reflect aggregate of Scope 1 and 2. Electricity consumption reflects Port Authority usage excluding tenants.

Table 1: GHG Emissions and Electricity Consumption Trends, 2006-2013

  2006* 2010 2011 2012 2013 Reductions
2013 vs. 2006
metric tons
312,249 297,049 280,143 265,167 272,045 40,204
MWh 643,350 526,483 514,446 497,352 148,589 148,589

*Original baseline data was not verified by third party.

GHG Equivalencies in Everyday Terms

40,204 metric tons CO2e is approximately equivalent to:

  • A monetary savings of approximately $1,567,956 based on the federal social cost of carbon ($39/metric ton), a dollar figure representing the value of damages avoided due to the emissions reductions
  • 32,954 acres of US forest sequestering carbon in one year
  • Carbon sequestered by approximately 1 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years
  • Removing 8,464 passenger vehicles from the roads
  • Avoiding 95.7 million of miles traveled by an average passenger vehicle
  • Diverting 14,410 tons of waste from landfill disposal
  • 4.5 million gallons of avoided gasoline consumption

148,589 MWh is approximately equivalent to:

  • 28.2 wind turbines being installed
  • 2.68 million incandescent lamps being switched to compact fluorescent lamps
  • 14,093 homes' electricity use for one year
  • 9,349 homes' energy use for one year
  • 11.5 million gallons of avoided gasoline consumption

CAP Emissions

The 2013 GHG Inventory Report provides critical data on the source of CAP emissions. In 2013, overall CAP emissions from Port Authority electricity consumption were much higher than CAP emissions from Port Authority stationary combustion. More specifically, data shows that in 2013, Aviation had the highest overall CAP emissions from stationary combustion by department and Real Estate had the lowest. Additionally in 2013, Aviation had the highest CAP emissions for electricity consumption by department with Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals having the second highest. Table 2 depicts Port Authority Scope 1 and 2 CAP emissions trends between 2006 and 2013. As you can see, Port Authority Scope 1 and 2 CAP emissions have generally been decreasing.

Table 2: Port Authority Scope 1 and 2 CAP Emissions Trends, 2006-2013 (metric tons)

Year NOx SO2 PMf+c PM2.5 PM10
2006 899 921 - 73 82
2007 - - - - -
2008 1,123 1,648 - 128 153
2009* - - - - -
2010 279 922 2 163 162
2011 168 521 5 92 95
2012 173 551 5 96 97
2013 175 571 6 99 101

*Limited inventory performed this year.

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.

2014 GHG and CAP Inventory

2013 GHG and CAP Inventory

2012 GHG and CAP Inventory

2011 GHG and CAP Inventory

2010 GHG and CAP Inventory | Addendum

2008 GHG and CAP Inventory

2007 GHG and CAP Inventory

2006 GHG and CAP Inventory

In 2010, the Port Authority joined The Climate Registry, a nationally accredited GHG registry, to validate annual inventories and promote transparency. In 2015, the Port Authority switched from The Climate Registry to CDP, an international, not-for-profit organization that provides a global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information. This allows the Port Authority to demonstrate our transparency and completeness on environmental management.

[1] Environmental Protection Agency. Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/sources.html

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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