France May Do Away With Short Domestic Flights

It's a move related to climate change
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2021 9:15 AM CDT
France Looks to Ban Flights Where Short Train Ride Exists
Travelers wait to board a train at the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris, Friday, April 2, 2021.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

French lawmakers gave the green light to a new restriction over the weekend, but this one was spurred on by the climate, not COVID. The National Assembly late Saturday voted in favor of putting an end to all domestic airline flights whose journey could instead be made by direct train in under 2.5 hours. That's a slightly watered down version of a climate commission's original recommendation, which set the bar at train alternatives of under 4 hours. Though the vote had cross-party support, the Guardian rounds up dissent among the various parties, who alternatively bemoaned the potential for job losses and the relative toothlessness of the final rule, saying the longer routes that are no longer impacted have a greater greenhouse-gas cost.

A French consumer group is also not a fan of the 2.5-hour threshold. "On average, the plane emits 77 times more CO2 per passenger than the train on [routes of up to 4 hours], even though the train is cheaper and the time lost is limited to 40 minutes. Our study shows that ... the government’s choice actually aims to empty the measure of its substance." Reuters reports the ban is one move in France's larger effort to slash its carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 as compared to 1990 levels. The measure will next go before the Senate, reports the BBC, and then face one last vote in the lower house. As for the routes that would be impacted, the Guardian reports short flights from Orly airport, which sits south of Paris, to places like Bordeaux would be axed. (Read more climate change stories.)

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