May 25, 2024

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France bans short-haul domestic flights

  • The law essentially prohibits public domestic flights between French destinations when a train journey of less than 2 hours and 30 minutes is available.
  • The World Wildlife Fund describes the environmental impact of aviation as “one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change”.

Airplane in the sky of France. The government there wants to cut short-haul flights in the country to reduce emissions.

Alan Beaton | Norphoto | Getty Images

A French ban on short-haul domestic flights when there are alternative train journeys went into effect this week, with one lawmaker describing it as an “essential step” in the country’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

published law by decreeGeneral domestic flights between French destinations are essentially prohibited when a train journey of less than 2 hours and 30 minutes is available.

France is home to an extensive high-speed railway network. According to a CNBC translation, flight substitution only applies when train travel “provides a satisfactory alternative service.”

This means that public passenger flights between Paris-Orly and cities such as Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon, are affected by the law. Connecting flights are not affected.

in statement Transport Minister Clement Bonn, translated by CNBC, called the move “a fundamental step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Bunn also said the ban was “a world first that is fully in line with government policy to encourage the use of modes of transportation that emit fewer greenhouse gases”.

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The World Wildlife Fund describes the environmental impact of aviation as “one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change”.

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The WWF also says that air travel is “currently the most carbon-intensive activity an individual can undertake.”

The news from France comes as the broader debate over private jet fares continues. In March 2023, Analysis published by Greenpeace It showed the number of private jet flights in Europe last year jumped 64% to a record 572,806.

The use of private jets by the super-wealthy generates a great deal of discussion.

during BBC interview Earlier this year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was asked for his opinion on the accusation that it was hypocrisy for a climate change campaigner to use a private jet.

Gates, who was being interviewed in Kenya, replied, “Well, I’m buying the gold standard of funding (carbon dioxide removal company) Climeworks to do direct air capture that far exceeds my family’s carbon footprint.”

“And I’m spending billions of dollars on … climate innovation. So, you know, should I just stay home and not come to Kenya and learn more about agriculture and malaria?”

The billionaire added that he was “comfortable with the idea that I’m not only part of the problem with the payout, but also with the billions that Breakthrough Energy Group is spending, and that I’m part of the solution.”

While the direct air capture sector has notable supporters, it also faces challenges. The International Energy Agency notes that capturing carbon dioxide from the air “requires more energy, and is therefore more expensive than capturing it from a stationary source.”

He adds that technologies such as direct air capture “are not a substitute for reducing emissions or an excuse for late action, but they can be an important part of the suite of technology options used to achieve climate goals.”

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— CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report