Travel boom: cutting flight emissions too inconvenient?
The number of flights in Europe was even higher this year than before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, because flight emissions contribute to global warming there is an ongoing debate about how flying should be regulated to protect the climate. In France and the Netherlands, restrictions to this end have now been reversed — much to commentators’ dismay.
Paris courting climate killers
The French government has issued a decree relaxing labour laws for commercial aviation and limiting labour inspections. Paris is breaking its word, L’Humanité fumes:
“Air traffic is responsible for more than half of the emissions from the transport sector — France’s most polluting sector — and contributes around six percent to global warming. The increase in air traffic, which is expected to be four percent per year from 2024, severely undermines the global targets for reducing emissions. And the hypothetical decarbonisation of the sector will take another two or three decades at best. Just a few days before the opening of COP28, France is sending a disastrous signal. ... This decree rolls out the red carpet for low-cost airlines on the tarmac.”
Air travel prioritised over climate and citizens
Under pressure from the US and the EU, the Netherlands has put the decision to reduce air traffic at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on hold. Air travel interests are being given priority, De Volkskrant complains:
“It’s high time that other interests such as the impact on the environment and the climate were given more weight. As part of the Green Deal, it was agreed that by 2050 the transport sector’s CO2 emissions must be 90 percent lower than in 1990. Any reduction is welcome, one would think, but the love for the free market is clearly always somewhat greater than the love for the climate in Europe. The EU Commission is siding with business rather than the citizens, reinforcing the impression that the corporate lobby in Brussels wields too much power.”