Schiphol group emissions nearly as high as that of all cars in NL

Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018
Schiphol airport, 29 Sept 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

With its Dutch airports alone, the Schiphol Group is responsible for 13.6 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, according to a study by environmental research agency CE Delft on behalf of Greenpeace. Schiphol itself says it emits only 33 thousand tons of CO2, the Volkskrant reports.

According to CE Delft's calculations, Schiphol is responsible for almost 7 percent of all CO2 emissions in the Netherlands. For comparison, all passenger cars in the country account for 8.5 percent of Dutch emissions. 

The research agency's 400 times higher emissions total can be attributed to one thing - kerosene. Schiphol does not sell this aircraft fuel itself, so does not include emissions caused by kerosene in its figures. But CE Delft believes that Schiphol "has a chain responsibility by providing services that make flying possible", such as delivering kerosene. Last year, 4,780 million liters of kerosene were sold at Schiphol's Dutch airports - Schiphol, Lelystad, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam The Hague. The group also has shares in airports in the United States and Australia. Every liter of kerosene produces some 2.8 kilograms of CO2 during combustion.

Schiphol does not outright deny that it bears some responsibility for emissions caused by kerosene. As a "chain partner in aviation", the company feels partly responsible for CO2 emissions, Schiphol said according to the newspaper. The airport group points out that it is taking many initiatives to reduce aviation emissions, such as investing in the first European plant for bio-kerosene. 

The aviation sector is a large and fast-growing emitter of greenhouse gases. Worldwide, the number of tourism and business flights only continues to grow. Two years ago, scientist Paul Peeters of the Tourism Academy of NHTV University of Applied Sciences in Breda calculated that by 2070 the travel sector - including aviation - will emit more CO2 than the rest of the world, provided that the world adheres to the Paris climate agreement.