Environmental protection organization Greenpeace says 80 percent of short trips can be taken up by rail. It calls for a ban on all domestic flights and transportation from Vienna to Prague, Budapest and Munich.
80 percent of short-haul trips in Austria can be replaced by rail travel. That is the conclusion of a Greenpeace report published on Wednesday. There are also direct night train connections for 53 percent of the top 30 short-haul journeys within the European Union. “An absolute value in Europe,” she said in a radio broadcast. The NGO called for a ban on flights that can be easily exchanged.
The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Transport, Magnus Brunner (ÖVP), immediately spoke out against the ban. “Climate targets should not be achieved with bans,” Brunner said. “We rely on incentives and innovation. That’s why I’m against the ban on short-haul flights.” 90 percent of Austrian domestic flights are also feeders for long-haul flights.
The report by the Italian OBC-Transeuropa Institute analyzed the 150 best short-haul flights in the European Union and the top 250 short-haul flights in Europe. The 30 most important Austrian flights were also considered. Flights to islands that can only be reached by train are excluded.
Among the most frequently used flight routes, 10 percent have a train of less than four hours and another 19 percent have a train of less than six hours. “Besides direct night trains, already half of Europe’s short journeys can comfortably be converted to rail,” said Greenpeace traffic spokesman Herwig Schuster. In Austria, this applies to 80 percent of all short-haul flights, including some express day trains and night trains with one change.
Corresponds to annual carbon dioxide emissions from all over Croatia.
On the basis of the excellent rail connections available in Austria, Greenpeace soon demanded that all domestic flights and flights from Vienna to Prague, Budapest and Munich be banned due to fast day trains. In addition, Greenpeace advocates cutting connections with very good night trains, including Vienna to Warsaw, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Zurich, Venice, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Flights to Frankfurt should also be a thing of the past from Linz and Salzburg. “Replacing all of Europe’s top 250 short-haul flights with trains would result in an annual CO2 saving of about 23.5 million tons per year. This corresponds to annual CO2 emissions across Croatia,” said Schuster.
For a complete exit from short-haul flights in Europe, Greenpeace has called for rail improvements. “The train should be much cheaper compared to the plane,” Schuster said. Especially in eastern and southeastern Europe, the trains will have to run faster and more often.
On the other hand, Brunner emphasized that aviation and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. “We are already saving 100,000 tons of CO2 annually through Ostro Control measures, the equivalent of 2,000 flights on the Mediterranean. We are promoting a mix of alternative fuels,” the foreign minister said. “So it’s not the problem of short-haul flights, but the CO2 emissions. Let’s talk about how to get alternative fuels on board instead of taking people off the plane.”
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