France Bans Some Short Flights to Limit Airline Emissions

Jun 16, 2023 - Views: 468
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France has officially outlawed domestic flights on short routes that can be completed by train in less than 2.5 hours in an effort to cut down on airline emissions.

With connecting flights untouched, the Tuesday-implemented move will largely prohibit air travel between Paris and regional hubs like Lyon, Nantes, and Bordeaux.

The French law will serve as a test case for governments all around the world, according to Max Boycoff, chairman of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

"While this material effect is quite minimal—only 2% of global emissions are caused by aviation—it has a lot of purchase in symbolic ways," he informed Al Jazeera. 

"The way this sparks conversations, similar to the one we're having right now, can open up further opportunities for emissions reductions elsewhere."

He also said that rail travel accounts for around ⅓ of the hydrocarbon emissions in comparison to flights.

"Everything does matter, including how we get from point A to point B. Transportation as a whole accounts for between 25 - 30% of global emissions, which proves the effectiveness of climate policies," Boycoff added.

Reducing air travel can help fight climate change

Reducing air travel can help fight climate change

Some airlines had requested the European Commission to look into the measure's legality even though it was already in use and part of a 2021 climate law.

Having said that, train services on the same route must be prompt, frequent, and well-connected to accommodate people who might otherwise fly and to handle an increase in traffic.

Besides, governments should support "real and significant solutions" to airline emissions instead of "symbolic bans," according to Laurent Donceel, interim head of the industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E).

A4E emphasized its own net zero by 2050 plan, which calls for using non-fossil fuels rather than jet fuel and introducing battery- or hydrogen-powered aircraft.

The move comes as French lawmakers discuss ways to cut emissions from private jets.

Also read: Tsunamis From Antarctica May Be Due To Climate Change

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