Boston’s Logan International Airport has decided to go green, an ambitious task given that the airport generated about 1.3 billion pounds of climate-changing carbon dioxide in 2013 alone. Here’s the scoop from the The Boston Globe:
The airport plans to cut its carbon emissions 40 percent and energy consumption by 25 percent below 2012 levels by 2020. Officials also plan to curb the amount of waste produced by passengers by 2 percent every year by 2030, reduce water use by 1 percent every year over the next 10 years, and increase the recycling rate by 60 percent by the end of the decade.
Well great! But there’s just one problem: The airplanes. A round-trip ticket from Boston to Seattle, for example, comes with a 1.68-metric-ton CO2 price tag. So an airport saying it’s going to clean up its act is kind of like an elementary school bully saying he’s going to keep stealing your money but won’t shove you into lockers anymore. It’s like, thanks, man, but you’re still kind of a dick.
Logan released a 40-page report that, according to The Globe, lacks specifics on how it plans to meet its goals but does point out some low-hanging fruit. It can, for example, ask that planes use just one engine while taxiing around aimlessly, as planes are wont to do. This sounds good, but it also begs the question: if planes only need one engine to torture their victims — er, passengers — this way, why don’t they already do this all the time?!
Airport officials also touted their new “environmentally friendly” rental car center, which has cut shuttle bus trips down from 100 per hour to 30 per hour. But let’s be honest: There’s nothing green about a place that hands out cars to loads of people, who will undoubtedly drive around the city in the most inefficient and infuriating way possible.
Nonetheless, one of the report’s authors, Brenda Enos, assistant director of capital and environmental programs at Massport, had this to say: “For the first time, we have actual goals and measurements against those metrics. I think it holds our feet to the fire.”
Psst! Climate change was already holding your feet to the fire. Case in point: In addition to cutting emissions, airport officials are also planning for sea level rise. From the Globe:
With sea levels expected to rise 2 feet to 6 feet by the end of the century — and as much as an additional 5 feet during the heaviest storms — airport officials plan to spend $9 million over the next five years on flood doors and barriers, coastal management, and portable pumps to keep the airport running in the event of a major storm surge. Within 10 years, they plan to spend millions more to move all critical equipment and upgrade systems to be able to withstand the worst storms.
Well, that sounds like a very sensible thing to do. Come to think of it, all of this sounds pretty sensible, which is why I’m not going to pat Logan on the back for this. Airports are where we go to participate in one of humankind’s greatest achievements — flight — but they’re also shameless hubs of pollution, waste, consumerism, and all around misery. So this non-specific, 40-page report is important — but also way overdue.