France Cuts Many Short-Haul Flights to Curtail Carbon Emissions

A law that the French government voted on one year ago that would ban short-haul flights if a train or bus route of no longer than two and a half hours existed has officially gone into effect. The ban, according to Forbes, is an attempt to reduce the country’s carbon emissions as a result of air travel.

The Guardian previously reported the law could eliminate up to 12 percent of France’s domestic flights. Affected routes include those from Paris to such destinations as Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyon. The climate commission set up by French President Emmanuel Macron had originally recommended the scrapping of all flights between French destinations where an alternative direct train journey of less than four hours existed. Ultimately, the time was cut from four hours to two and a half because the longer time risked isolating landlocked territories, like the greater Massif Central.

In addition, one downfall listed by environmental groups is that the ban only applies to domestic traffic and not those flights that are connected to international flights. The groups implied that it is debatable as to how much of the estimated 12 percent reduction in short-haul flights will actually be achieved, if those flights are made up elsewhere.

According to French consumers group UFC-Que Choisir, The Guardian reports, on average, aircraft emit 77 times more CO2 per passenger than trains on the affected routes (up to the initial four hours), also adding that train travel is cheaper and the time lost is limited to 40 minutes.

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