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11 Mar 2019, 14:09
Benjamin Wehrmann

Leading climate researcher calls for ban on domestic flights in Germany to save emissions

Clean Energy Wire / Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung

Leading German climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has called for a substantial shift in strategy for the tourism industry to make sure that its carbon footprint does not contribute to the sector’s possible demise.

“Tourism bites the hand that feeds it if it contributes to climate change,” the former director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said at the ITB international tourism fair in Berlin. If beaches around the world are flooded due to a global rise in temperature of 4 or 5 degrees Celsius, “there will be no more beach tourism," Schellnhuber said.

Radical measures are necessary to bring down tourism emissions, the climate researcher said, arguing that “domestic flights within Germany should be banned” and replaced by a better continental high-speed train network. “This is one of the innovations that I would say should rank high on the German government and the EU’s agenda,” Schellnhuber said in an article in the Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. Schellnhuber also proposed that air travel be reduced to 20 flights in a person’s lifetime and that its price should be increased considerably. “This would bring air travel to an acceptable level,” he argued. The climate researcher also said that the cruise industry is putting an increasing burden on the climate, with some ships emitting as much particulate matter as one million passenger cars, even though more climate-friendly propulsion systems like liquid gas or sails are available.

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