Why in news?
France became the first country in the world to impose a ban on short-haul domestic flights.
Why did the French ban short-haul domestic flights?
- Short-haul flights – Short-haul is a flight lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
- Flights lasting between 3-6 hours define medium-haul.
- Long-haul flights are those that extend beyond 6 hours.
- France has brought in a new law banning air travel to destinations that trains can cover within a two-and-a-half hour journey.
- France banned short domestic flights in favour of train services and to reduce aviation emissions.
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What is the emission status of the aviation industry?
- Air transport, globally, accounts for just about 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year, and less than 2% of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Even though aviation contributes a minuscule part of the total emissions, they are still considered a big worry mainly due to two reasons.
- A very small fraction of the global population generates it.
- It is projected that it will grow at a very fast pace.
- Airplanes also produce non-CO2 emissions and their impact on global warming is equally significant.
According to the UN Climate Change, if we account for non-CO2 emissions, such as water vapor, the airline industry would be responsible for causing almost 5% of historical global warming.
What is the situation with private jets?
- The trend of using private planes has been increasing rapidly in the Europe.
- At the same time, there is a growing demand for a wider crackdown on private aviation.
- France, the Netherlands, Austria and Ireland are urging the European Union to strengthen regulations to discourage travel by private jets.
Transport and Environment, a European transport campaign group, estimated that private jets were 5 to 14 times more polluting, per passenger, than commercial planes, and 50 times more polluting than trains.
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What are the issues with aviation emissions?
- Countries attribute the emissions from planes flying within their boundaries to themselves.
- But emissions from airlines making international flights are not attributable to any country.
- No country has any responsibility to curtail these emissions.
- The Paris Agreement does not cover these emissions.
So far, there is no offset mechanism in place.
- In 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) introduced an offset mechanism called Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
- The offset plan CORSIA is supposed to run from 2021 to 2035.
- CORSIA does not deal with total emissions and only seeks to offset emissions that are over and above 2020 levels.
- The mechanism ensures that the airline industry compensates for excess emissions by investing in carbon-saving projects elsewhere.
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What are the other methods to reduce carbon emissions?
- Alternate fuels such as biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells have been tried as potential options.
- Solar powered planes have also made trips.
- Unlike road or rail travel, aviation does not have viable technology alternatives for shifting to cleaner fuels.
- These alternative fuels for flying large commercial airliners is still unviable.
- IE – France bans short-haul domestic flights?
Read also:- International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)