Date: Mar 27, 2008
Press Release Number: 29-2008
Goal Expands Agency's Aggressive Environmental Agenda
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today expanded the agency's commitment to the environment by announcing a goal of carbon neutrality from its operations by 2010. The agency aims to reach net zero annual carbon emissions from its operations first and foremost through new capital investments and operational refinements, and then to offset its remaining emissions through regional investments in environmental technology. The offsets are likely to come from projects like wind farms and methane capture facilities.
The Port Authority's carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals build on the agency's existing commitment to reduce the overall carbon dioxide impact from the public use of its facilities, which includes the emissions of planes at its airports, cars at its river crossings and ships at its seaports, by 5 percent a year and by 80 percent by 2050. The plan to reduce the overall impact of Port Authority facilities was announced last year.
A recently completed survey indicates that the annual carbon dioxide emissions from the Port Authority's operation of its facilities is 298,000 metric tons and the annual carbon emissions produced by the public use of agency facilities is 5.07 million metric tons.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "Today, the Port Authority becomes the first public entity in the region to set a goal of carbon neutrality. This goal builds on the agency's aggressive capital and operating strategies for reducing its environmental footprint, including pledging an unprecedented $8 billion for mass transit in our 10-year capital plan. The breadth of our facilities gives us an opportunity -- and indeed the responsibility -- to make a significant impact in efforts to preserve and protect our environment, and we are committed to doing so."
Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, "Finding offsets by investing in the region's green economy is a win on every level. Of course it's good for the environment here and around the globe. But it also helps boost an important and growing economic sector in the region, and may even help take asthma-causing pollutants out of the air. Today's plan fits with a model of aggressive environmental actions the Port Authority has developed over the last year, from its carbon negative pledge at Stewart International Airport to its Green Pass program for its bridge and tunnel customers."
Natural Resources Defense Council Air and Energy Program Director Ashok Gupta said, "The Port Authority has taken the time to understand the tremendous challenges posed by global warming pollution, and is committed to real responses, not window dressing. They're hitting all the right notes: expanding mass transit options, finding ways to make their systems more energy-efficient, and making smart investments in the region's critical green economy."
The carbon reduction policies were formally adopted as part of a broader Sustainability Policy authorized today by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners. Other components include: strategies to reduce the risks posed by global warming to Port Authority facilities; encouraging customers, tenants and patrons to conduct their business in sustainable fashion; and seeking innovative partnerships in the region to reduce the region's overall environmental footprint.
To ensure that carbon offsets purchased by the Port Authority are appropriate and produce verifiable carbon emissions reductions, the agency will utilize rigorous standards to ensure adherence to international verification protocols and will establish thorough procedures for auditing offset programs.
The Port Authority has taken numerous aggressive steps recently to reduce its environmental impacts, including: