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Germany’s official carrier Lufthansa has partnered with railway operator Deutsche Bahn to eliminate short-haul domestic flights to the airline’s Frankfurt hub and replace them with train journeys.
Lufthansa already has a network of cities serviced by the Deutsche Bahn Express Rail system, and now the airline will add five more to this network, including Hamburg, Berlin, and Bremen.
The move, DPA notes in a report on the news, comes in response to mounting pressure on airlines to reduce their carbon footprint.
The aviation industry accounts for just 2 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions, but and its share in emissions from the transport industry is 12 percent. This doesn’t make the industry a top polluter in any way, but because it is a highly visible industry, it has attracted a lot of criticism that a couple of years ago spurred the so-called flight-shaming movement that has gathered quite a pace in Europe.
In fact, last month, a group of European aviation associations released a plan called “Destination 2050” with the aim to reduce the industry’s emission output to a net-zero by that year. The global aviation industry earlier set itself a target of reducing carbon emissions by half from 2005 levels by 2050.
Replacing short-haul flights with alternative modes of transportation is one way to reduce emissions from the aviation industry, but it is a limited way. As the Air Transport Action Group points out on its website, as much as 80 percent of emissions from air travel come from flights of over 1,500 km. For these flights, there are no practical alternatives, the ATAG says.
One way to reduce emissions from air travel is to use sustainable aviation fuels made from things like algae and waste cooking oil. According to the managing director of Airlines for Europe, Thomas Reynaert, SAFs account for 34 percent of the carbon emission reduction potential of the industry, second only to aircraft technology improvements.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.