Headline RoundupMay 24th, 2023

France Bans Some Short-Distance Flights in Move to Cut Emissions

AllSides Summary

Flights that can be completed by an equivalent train ride in under 2.5 hours will no longer operate in France.

The Details: The law was finalized two years after lawmakers voted to pass it. Air travel from Paris to cities like Lyon, Bordeaux and Nantes will cease. The EU insisted banned air routes must have a high-speed rail alternative that enables travel in under 2.5 hours, and that there must be enough early and late-running trains to enable travelers to spend at least eight hours at their destination. French President Emmanuel Macron's environmental panel had originally recommended banning flights where a train trip would take fewer than four hours.

Key Quotes: "This is an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions," the country’s Transportation Minister said. The head of industry group Airlines for Europe disagreed, and urged "real and significant solutions" instead of "symbolic bans."

For Context: Some estimate planes emit more than five times the amount of CO2 per passenger than trains or buses do, and emit around 100 times more CO2 per hour than a shared bus or train ride. Climate activists have focused more on reducing airlines emissions in recent years, and celebrities who frequently fly private have become a target of criticism.

How the Media Covered it: Sources across the spectrum covered the news, and highlighted critics who said the ban didn't go far enough. 

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