Greta’s Nightmare

Would you be ready to renounce the cheapest trips to reduce your ecological footprint? 

Lauréna Jurkovic, Claire Thabourey & Carina Trepke

Carina’s dilemma

Carina’s father works for Air France which allows the whole family to benefit from very cheap flight tickets. When she was young, the biggest airport in Germany was like a second home for her: Frankfurt-Paris, Frankfurt-Lyon, Frankfurt-Lisbon… We are going to stop this list because we don’t want Greta Thunberg to have nightmares!

(Foto: privat)

The awakening of her ecological conscience

Being more and more conscious about the damaging effects of the air industry, Carina started to think twice before jumping into a plane. As flight shaming was mentioned in every media – not that bad when we know that air travel represents around 3% of the Greenhouse Gas emissions[1] – and covid crisis made travelling abroad difficult, Carina started to limit her air traveling drastically. But this option is not given to everyone.

Encouraging the use of less polluting means of transport?

Even without discounts, it is not uncommon to find airline tickets that are cheaper than those for train travel. If Carina has the strength and the financial possibility to refuse her father’s tickets, some people might hesitate a bit more.

So, how could politics, public and private organizations help?

France has started to legislate on this issue : French people are forbidden to travel by plane if the same ride is possible in 2h30 by train but Germany is still lagging behind in that aspect (even though we have to say that also the French legislation is not the best).

(Foto: privat

Some websites selling airline tickets also offer customers the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint by paying an additional fee. This opportunity is also made by some climate protection organisations like the German association atmosphere, which uses the money to support climate protection projects.

To go further, we could think about taxes on air tickets and conversely reduce the VAT rate on train tickets. Success would now depend on the acceptance of the civil society and the public authorities: would people be ready to renounce the plane as Carina did?

[1] Reducing emissions from aviation | Climate Action (europa.eu)