Press Release Article


Date: Jun 18, 2019
Press Release Number: 99-2019

Citation from Airports Council International commends agency for efforts in reducing carbon footprint, working productively with partners on mitigation, communication plans

The Port Authority has achieved the highest rating possible, short of actually achieving carbon neutrality, from Airports Council International (ACI) for the agency’s efforts to cut carbon emissions at its airports and develop effective stakeholder engagement leading to further reductions in emissions. That rating is a Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA).

The ACA makes the Port Authority the first agency to have five different airports accredited at Level 3, which measures the quality of emission-reduction plans and programs developed between airports and their stakeholders. Stakeholders include operational and service companies such as airlines, ground handlers and catering companies, as well as staff and passengers. Level 4, the highest level, denotes an airport’s carbon neutrality.

There are only 14 airports in North America now accredited at Level 3, including the Port Authority’s five facilities: JFK International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, New York Stewart International and Teterboro airports. Port Authority airports account for more than one-third of all North American airports with ACI’s Level 3 rating.

Last October, the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners unanimously embraced the Paris Climate Agreement, becoming the first public transportation agency in the United States to do so. The resolution adopted by the board called for a 35-percent reduction by 2025 in greenhouse gas emissions generated by the Port Authority’s own operations. The board also reaffirmed the agency’s prior commitment to an 80-percent reduction by 2050.

The ACA was developed by ACI in 2009 and is overseen by an independent Advisory Board. The accreditation is the only globally recognized environmental standard for airports and is designed as a roadmap for airports to reduce their CO2 emissions.

“The Port Authority has taken aggressive steps to achieve sustainable growth, promote environmental efficiency in its operational activities and reduce the impact of aviation on climate change,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “We look forward to continuing to work with our stakeholders and partners to achieve additional greenhouse gas reductions.”

“ACI’s ratings recognize our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and adhere to the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority.

“Reducing airport emissions requires extraordinary teamwork and collective attention to reducing our carbon footprint. The ACA score this year reflects the benefits of sustainability programs the Port Authority has put in place, and the critical nature of internal and external collaboration,” said Christine Weydig, director of the Port Authority’s Office of Environmental and Energy Programs.

Building on past efforts that helped earn the higher ACA designation, the Port Authority continues to move aggressively to curb carbon emissions. Among other current and pending projects, the agency is developing a 1.5-megawatt rooftop solar array on LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B garage, set to go online in 2020, as part of a power-purchase agreement with a solar energy provider.

A grant award from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection involving proceeds from the recent Volkswagen lawsuit settlement , announced last week, will enable the Port Authority and United Airlines to collaborate on replacement of 39 pieces of diesel and gasoline-powered ground support equipment with electric models at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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