August 14, 2020

The left targets the plane after its war on diesel

The environmentalist wave against air travel Born in northern Europe is gradually gaining strength in the south. Also in Spain. The left formations, which they put a couple of years ago in their sights on diesel, have now placed aviation on the target. Yesterday, Barcelona City Hall, governed by the Catalan branch of Podemos, announced that will ask the El Prat airport to eliminate the routes that have a railway alternative. Among them is the Air bridge provided by Iberia between Barcelona and Madrid. This service, according to the Councilor for Climate Emergency of the Barcelona City Council, Eloi Badia, «Has a railway alternative that has no emissions», he told the Betevé television network.

Colau’s proposal, which does not have the support of the PSC, one of its government partners, would mean the loss of some 2.4 million seats. In 2019, in the absence of December data, the Barcelona-Madrid connection has transported 2.36 million passengers. For both airports, the airlift involves the route with more passengers as a stopover airport, according to data from Ep.

Specifically, in 2018, 2.46 million people traveled between the Catalan capital and Madrid using the airlift, some 200,000 per month, which represents 4.9% of total traffic during that year.

We can not only in this approach. In your election program, More Country He also proposed promoting high-speed trains in those cases where they represent a competitive alternative to the plane to finally raise «The progressive limitation of such flights». The party of Íñigo Errejón also proposed to increase the VAT on air tickets, taxing the kerosene tax on peninsular flights, by means of the possibility of an additional fee for air tickets.

Penalizing travel on this means of transport with more taxes is also the preferred option of PSOE ideas lab. In a report on the issue of last November, the Alternatives Foundation proposes a “green tax” on aviation. Short distance trips would have an additional cost of 4.47 euros; those of medium distance, of 23.32 euros; while the tax for long-distance would be 41.99 euros. With the measure, the socialist foundation estimates that the State would raise some 1.3 billion and that Spain would be equated with other countries that have already taken measures in this regard such as Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Sweden or the United Kingdom.


Aviation detractors argue that, in terms of pollution, it is a much less efficient means of transport than the train. According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), each person traveling by train emits 14 grams of CO2, compared to the 285 grams emitted by each user of an airplane. In addition, they ensure that when the devices burn fuel, they also emit into the atmosphere greenhouse gases such as water vapor and nitrous oxide.

In defense of their interests, the airlines say that, despite the noise that is being made around them, Aviation barely emits 2.5% of total CO2. The airplanes are now 80% more sustainable than in the 80s, according to Iberia president Luis Gallego said in December, coinciding with the celebration of the Climate Summit in Madrid. The director of the Spanish airline said that the sector is making great efforts to achieve the goal of zero net emissions in 2050. More efficient fleets, with greener fuels and applying recycling measures are some of the steps that the airlines have taken, according to Galician.

But although everyone agrees that in the long radius, above 1,500 kilometers, there is no technically more efficient alternative than the plane, the companies themselves are aware that the pressure on the sector is increasing that the short radio concerns and some are already taking measures to protect, above all, their reputation. The Dutch KLM has reached an agreement with the Franco-French railway company Thalys to offer train trips as an alternative to the shortest route it offers, between Amsterdam and Brussels. Tui Nederland has also eliminated air connections with the French capital and will also prioritize train travel to Berlin and London. Both in France and in the Netherlands some deputies have raised proposals to ban short flights and replace them with rail.


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