German government officials increased domestic air travel in 2019
Welt am Sonntag
German government employees last year took 27,216 more individual flights than in 2018, with a particular increase in short inland flights that are considered to be particularly harmful to the environment, Daniel Wetzel writes in Welt am Sonntag. In order to offset the resulting CO2 emissions and improve the government’s climate footprint, tax payers footed a bill of more than 1.7 million euros for EU emission credits. Officials and employees from all federal authorities travelled significantly more by air last year, taking a total of 265,823 individual flights – 27,216 more than in 2018, according to the report, which cites data provided by the Federal Environment Ministry in response to a inquiry by the FDP party parliamentary group.
The number of short-haul flights rose 12 percent to 204,692 while medium and long-haul flights also increased. The total number of kilometres travelled by air increased from just under 350 million to more than 386 million, resulting in 213,942 tonnes of CO2 emissions, Wezel writes. In an effort to offset the emissions caused by increased air traffic, the Federal Environment Agency purchased more than 1.7 million euros worth from the EU’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Bernd Reuther, an FDP member of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, criticised the government’s response and called for greater transparency, particularly in regard to non-European flights conducted by the defence ministry's transport wing, which oversees government and military air transport. Critics complain that many official government trips, particularly inland flights, could be avoided thanks to good train connections. The German Aviation Association itself last year stated that rail transport should be strengthened to replace certain domestic flights with trains.