Greenpeace study: Many short-haul flights can be replaced by trains

Status: 10/27/2021 11:59 a.m.

By plane from Frankfurt to Hamburg? This is done several times a day today, but according to a Greenpeace study it would not be necessary. For almost a third of all short-haul flights in Europe, there are already alternatives by rail.

Around every third European short-haul flight can already be replaced by a train journey. This is the result of a study by the environmental organization Greenpeace. Accordingly, there are train connections with a travel time of less than six hours for 29 percent of short-haul flights. There are direct night train connections for a further 15 percent.

In the study commissioned by Greenpeace, the 150 short-haul flights flown the most in the EU and the top 250 flights in the EU plus Switzerland, Norway and Great Britain were compared with existing rail connections.

Flying is twelve times more harmful to the climate than traveling by train

According to Greenpeace, short-haul flights are around twelve times more damaging to the climate than comparable train journeys. Flights on routes that can also be reached by train in a few hours contradict climate protection, said traffic expert Lena Donat. “You are no longer allowed to fly on such short distances.” The new federal government must expand rail services and end climate-damaging short flights.

In Germany, too, according to Greenpeace, every third flight taking off or landing here can already be replaced by a climate-friendly train journey of less than six hours. Eliminating such particularly climate-damaging flight routes saves around 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, minus the emissions from increasing train traffic. As a first step, Greenpeace calls for the cancellation of frequent connections, such as those from Frankfurt to Brussels, Munich, Berlin or Hamburg, as the railways already offer fast connections here.

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