CHAMPION LOW-CARBON TRAVEL
What you need to know
Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon emissions in Europe (+26% in the past five years), just when we need to be getting emissions down fast.
Now, of course, in this time of corona crisis, the industry has been hit hard and airlines are asking governments across Europe for huge bailouts. Will leaders give them the money with no strings attached, so they can keep on polluting once air travel starts up again?
This is a chance for the outdoor community to add our voice to mounting calls for governments to oblige airlines to commit to reducing their emissions when this crisis is past.
Why This Matters
Ever wanted to take the train across Europe but found it was just too expensive? Wondered how it is that flying is usually so much cheaper? Well here’s why: we have taxes on almost all fuels, including for trains, buses and our cars, but airlines pay ZERO tax on their (fossil) fuels. And most of the time there’s no VAT on airline tickets either. Which makes it so much harder to make the more environmentally friendly travel choice.
Meanwhile aviation’s emissions have been growing rapidly, despite the industry’s promises to reduce them. The aviation sector’s carbon pollution has been growing so fast (up until just now) that Ryanair has become one of the top 10 carbon emitters in Europe, a league which had until now been exclusively occupied by coal plants.
Scientists have estimated how much more CO2 the world can emit by 2050 to keep global heating within 1.5°C as in the Paris Agreement – this is our carbon budget. And they say aviation could singlehandedly eat up more than a quarter of that budget if allowed to grow unchecked.
Why is POW getting involved?
Transport is the second biggest contributor to Europe’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions overall, contributing 27% of all GHG emissions in Europe. It is also by far the biggest part of the carbon footprint of a mountain resort – around 60% or more.
While aviation gets tax exemptions, train travel does not – or much less. But rail could play a huge part in getting transport emissions down, if governments would only tax it less heavily and even show it some love. Rail represents only 0.5% of the CO2 emissions from all transport modes and plays a vital role in our mountain regions which are particularly sensitive to the growing road traffic congestion problem and the associated air, noise and visual pollution.
Want to know more?