San Diego International Airport has just achieved LEED Platinum, the highest certification attainable. The airport, also known as Lindbergh Field, has it all: a megawatt of solar power, water and energy conservation measures, sophisticated climate and energy controls, a reflective roof, and " improved indoor environmental quality through the use of low volatile organic compound adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings."
In the press release, the project director calls it "the poster child for sustainability and environmental stewardship."
Scientific studies have shown that these high-altitude emissions have a more harmful climate impact because they trigger a series of chemical reactions and atmospheric effects that have a net warming effect. The IPCC, for example, has estimated that the climate impact of aircraft is two to four times greater than the effect of their carbon dioxide emissions alone.
I am loath to criticize LEED these days, it has enough trouble with the plastic people. San Diego Airport is a better, greener place because of LEED, but calling an airport green is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps for the Platinum label of LEED there should be a question about the use, and withhold it from those that are laughably inappropriate.