The Greens want to make flying (short-haul) unattractive. Image: Rita Morais, CC0 1.0
The energy and climate newsreel: Of short-haul flights, drastic changes in the Arctic, Californian forest fires, Indian hurricanes and a famine crisis in Madagascar
Last week – even before the CDU finally discovered the gender star as the all-important ie in this world not lacking in crises, wars and catastrophes – there was a lot of noise about the ie of short-haul flights. The Green candidate for chancellor Annalena Baerbock had dared to question short-haul flights, from which the CDU economic council, vice-president is Friedrich Merz, razor-sharp concluded that now the end for vacation flights to Mallorca, Italy and so on threatened. For Merz apparently all domestic destinations.
Baerbock had not actually said much more than that flying over short distances must be made less attractive. In concrete terms, her draft for an election program for the Bundestag, which will be voted on at a party conference in just under three weeks, is nothing more than a few harsh words: "We want to make short-haul flights superfluous by 2030 by massively expanding the railroads. The number of long-haul flights must be reduced and flying decarbonized at the same time." Nothing more. No ban; not even the demand for an end to the massive subsidies for aviation fuel and airports.
In a brochure published in December 2019, the German Federal Environment Agency calls flying the most climate-damaging mode of transportation. Aircraft exhaust accounted for about 2.5 percent of all emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 worldwide. In addition, other emissions, especially water vapor and sulfur and nitrogen oxides, double or triple the greenhouse effect of exhaust gases.
But water vapor and nitrogen oxides are also emitted by planes that use synthetic fuels. In this respect, the basic demand for decarbonization of aviation, which means the use of hydrogen or synthesized hydrocarbons, is at best half-hearted and the widespread criticism from the ranks of the Union is particularly absurd. Bad theater, which – intentionally or unintentionally – distracts from a serious discussion of the problems at hand.
Incidentally, France’s new climate law, passed in early May, bans short-haul flights on routes that can be covered by train in less than two and a half hours. In addition, the new construction and expansion of the airport has been banned.
The law was passed by conservatives and liberals, whose local party friends consider such things to be the devil’s work and who once again try to stigmatize the Greens as a party of prohibition, a framing that is also taken up by many riot-loving journalists.
The accusation is, of course, particularly original coming from a party that, among other things, wants to see cannabis and the gender asterisk banned and that has no problem at all with doctors being punished for providing information about abortions. And he is on the level of well-paid actors, who go on talk shows to explain in front of the camera that one is not allowed to say this or that anymore.