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France bans public, short-haul flights to cut carbon emissions — but critics say it 'will have very little impact'
President of France Emmanuel Macron (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

France bans public, short-haul flights to cut carbon emissions — but critics say it 'will have very little impact'

France signed into law this week a ban on domestic, short-haul flights when the journey can be completed in less than two-and-a-half hours by train.

The new decree, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions, prohibits "regular public passenger air transport services." However, the ban does not appear to extend to private jet travel.

According to Greenpeace, private jet travel in Europe in 2022 increased by 64% — a record high that more than doubled carbon emissions. The organization also found that of those flights last year, 55% traveled distances under 750 kilometers or 466 miles.

For a public air route to be discontinued in France, there must be a high-speed train available to travelers that "provides a satisfactory alternative service," according to a statement translated by CNBC.

Several air routes have been terminated due to the ban, including those connecting the Paris-Orly airport to Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lyon.

France's transport minister, Clement Beaune, referred to the move as "an essential step and a strong symbol in the policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

"As we fight relentlessly to decarbonize our lifestyles, how can we justify the use of the plane between the big cities which benefit from regular, fast and efficient connections by train," Beaune added.

He called the decree a "global first that is fully in line with the Government's policy of encouraging the use of modes of transportation that emit fewer greenhouse gases."

Others criticized the decree as nothing more than empty talk.

According to Guillaume Schmid, the former vice president of Air France's pilots' union, travelers were already avoiding air travel for these journeys.

"No one will be fooled by this measure: passengers are naturally turning away from taking flights on these routes," Schmid stated.

Transport & Environment, a transport campaign group, estimated that the three retired routes represent only 0.3% of emissions from flights taking off from France.

Aviation director at Transport & Environment Jo Dardenne said, "The French flight ban is a symbolic move, but will have very little impact on reducing emissions."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →