It is the first real step in the world to adapt aviation to climate change. As of this Wednesday, France has banned regional flights, since the two-way train takes less than two and a half hours, after the publication of the decision in the French newspaper on Tuesday, so it has an immediate effect on the air connections between Nantes and Bordeaux; Lyon and Paris-Orly. In Spain, the Government had already announced that it was considering a similar plan. Agenda Pedro Sánchez 2050 presented two years ago, also provides for this measure.
This measure, included in the French Climate Law approved in August 2021, seeks to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions from this type of regular air transport service.
In the French decree, which applies for three years, it states that the train routes must have “adequate frequencies and adequate schedules”, while the connection must allow the passenger to stay at the destination for more than eight hours a day.
In addition, the railway route must be carried out between stations that serve the same states and the airports in question.
In this regard, the French Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, celebrates that this measure is an essential step and a strong symbol in the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
First chance on the planet
“It is the world’s first and fully in accordance with the government’s policy to promote the use of modes of transport that emit less greenhouse gases,” he highlighted in a statement.
Passenger plane to the airport
However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), through its director general, Willie Walsh described the method as “absurd” and “empty”, according to the Efe agent.
In this sense, Walsh explained that if all routes of less than 500 kilometers were removed in Europe, 24% of flights would be suppressed, but instead CO2 emissions would fall by only 3.84%, citing a report from Eurocontrol.
Short trips are very harmful
Short-haul flights are the main cause of aviation emissions in Europe. The main conclusion of the research was made by scientists from the University of Manchester. Passively, eliminating short-haul European flights (less than 500 kilometers) would reduce aviation emissions more strongly, accounting for 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. It would be a “good measure” in the fight against climate change, according to researchers.
The research, published in 2021 in the journal “Transportation Research”, revealed that a large number of flights between cities are located at distances of less than 483 kilometers and that public transport is another “key contributor to harmful emissions”.
The discovery, according to the researchers, presents a clear opportunity to “control the pollution necessary to achieve net zero carbon targets”.
“Aviation authorities and airlines have the ability to review the frequency of these routes in order to reduce emissions, optimize networks, reduce congestion and contribute positively to environmental sustainability,” study author Antonio Filippone, from the Department of Mechanics, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester.
Parked at the airport
The researchers checked the geographic data with the geographic data of the air traffic and this allowed them to identify the shortest air routes that operated across Europe before the covid-19 pandemic almost brought air traffic to a halt.
After using advanced simulation methods to estimate door-to-door emissions, scientists were able to show that it is the shortest routes that generate the most emissions. For this reason, the need to “evaluate the European air network” with the less polluting transport option, as analyzed in most routes.
Short flights in Spain to reduce emissions ban
In response to this concern of scientists about emissions from short-haul flights, the Spanish government announced two years ago its intention to ban air travel with train trains and travel times of less than two and a half hours. The government’s proposal sparked an angry protest from the Airline Association (ALA).
The results of the project of Peter Sánchez included the short flights of the bolus in the report “Spain 2000”, which includes a national plan thirty years from now. According to government calculations, eliminating short-haul flights would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 2 million tons.
“It is recommended to stop flights on those journeys that can be done by train in less than 2.5 hours”, the time policy proposes verbatim.
The 2050 Agenda also proposes a ban on frequent air travel. Likewise, he proposes a tax by creating “flat tickets according to the proximity of the destination”, which would help “to limit the necessary externalities and access the treatment of other taxes from transport”, reads the report.
Pedro Sánchez plans to take similar organizations
Given the possibility of a ban or the introduction of fees for users of short flights, the ALA warned of the impact of “waste” such as any of these in the aeronautical sector, both in tourism and consequently in employment. and the economy of the country.
Flights of less than 500 kilometers or less than two and a half hours travel time meant non-stop flights from almost any point on the peninsula to Madrid. According to the ALA, migrants from peripheral Spanish communities to other continents would stop flying through Madrid. and they would do it from the states of Paris, London, Frankfurt, or Rome. As a result, emissions were maintained and the center of Madrid was severely affected.
Aviation causes 5.9% of global emissions
Aviation causes 5.9% of global emissions In 2019 aviation caused the emission of more than 915 million tons of carbon dioxide. This figure represents only 2% of total global emissions. And a report from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recently corroborated scientific research, saying that the real climate impact of high-altitude kerosene burning is three times higher than previously believed, since CO2 represents only a third of the emissions caused by aircraft. Thus, the annual contribution of this industry to climate change is 5.9% of total greenhouse gases.
Since the aeronautical industry and passenger air traffic have registered a spectacular growth in recent decades — in the European Union the number of users went from 360 million to 1,106 million in 2018, the contribution of aircraft to the climate crisis is much more than anticipated.
Even more so if one considers that, between 1960 and 2018, CO2 emissions from the commercial aviation sector have grown from 6.8 million to 1,034 million tons per year. In addition, airplanes emitted 129% more greenhouse gases in 2017 than in 1990.
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