We have to look at our consumption: the rich countries have enormous ecological footprints. Now the poorer countries are catching up quickly. That is in principle great. But if the 7.5 billion people on the planet lived like US-Americans (or for that matter, Europeans) we would need 5 planets.
It could sound as if we wanted to stop the people from developing countries from reaching our Western standard of living. But the West has to correct its model of wealth. Away from splurge. Exploitation of nature has to become more expensive.
I am taking the night train (ÖBB nightjet) from Vienna to Zurich today. So let us take this as an opportunity to compare the carbon footprint (all numbers for the one-way trip!):
- Driving from Vienna to Zurich takes 7h 30min, costs 80-120 Euro, and produces 122kg of CO2.
- Flying from Vienna to Zurich takes 4h 11 min, costs 65-288 Euro, and produces 162kg of CO2.
Compensating this amount of CO2 on atmosfair costs 5 Euro.
- Taking the day train from Vienna to Zurich takes 7h 50min during the day, costs 39 Euro, and produces almost no CO2 (in Austria and Switzerland most electricity comes from water power).
- Taking the night train from Vienna to Zurich takes 10h 50min, you have a safe and cozy bed, and the bed in the 4-bed compartment costs 89 Euro. And again: it produces almost no CO2.
You leave at 21:27 and arrive at 8:20: you practically don’t loose any time, you spend the trip sleeping.
And of course, as every year, a lot of night trains are cut. This year in particular in Eastern Europe, which for a long time had had a very stable and dense night train network. The European policy of subsidising air travel is taking its toll. Particularly noteworthy: The loss of the EuroNight „Metropol“ which used to connect Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. In a time where Air Berlin and Niki go bankrupt and people complain about expensive flight tickets „Das Buchungssystem ist schuld: So erklärt Lufthansa die rasant steigenden Flugpreise.“
where in Vienna there are protests agains a new runway for the airport, and where the whole world complains about Trump leaving the Paris agreement: in this time Europe does not mind when its only ecological mode of transportation breaks down completely. Europe is saying a lot of nice words, but the actual politics is hardly better than Trump’s. The European laugh about Trump but care about the climate just as little as he does, in all of their daily decisions.
The German parliament supports a proposal by the government which reads as follows:
1. als Vertreter des Bundes gegenüber dem Vorstand der DB AG anzuregen, dass die bisherigen Kooperationen auch in den kommenden Jahren aufrechterhalten werden und eine regelmäßige Überprüfung zur Ausweitung der Streckenangebote gerade im grenzüberschreitenden Nacht- und Autoreisezugverkehr auch in kooperativer Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Bahnunternehmen erfolgt;
[Translation: to maintain existing cooperations in the next years and check whether the international night train network can be extended in cooperations]
2. sicherzustellen, dass den potentiellen Betreibern neuer Nachtzugstrecken weiterhin ein gesetzlich vorgeschriebener fairer und diskriminierungsfreier Zugang zur Schieneninfrastruktur ermöglicht wird;
[to ensure that potential operators of night trains have fair access to the railway network]
3. sich auf EU-Ebene für Rahmenbedingungen einzusetzen, die bestehende administrative, technische und wettbewerbliche Hemmnisse eines grenzüberschreitenden Schienenpersonenverkehrs abbauen, damit auch der Nachtzugverkehr profitiert;
[to encourage on EU level conditions which reduce administrative, technical and competitive problems of international railway travel, so that also the night trains profit]
Maintain existing cooperations and provide fair access to the railway network? The EuroNight „Metropol“ is cancelled because German network access fees are too high!
To reduce competitive problems? Airlines already don’t pay VAT, energy taxes and fuel taxes, whereas railway operators pay the full amount. But nevertheless the government feels responsible to keep airline ticket prices low if there is a bankrupt airline! Did the government give a fuck about Locomore going bankrupt?
Dear government: you should be happy if Niki and Air Berlin are bankrupt and airline tickets become more expensive: the only way you can possibly keep your climate promises!
And by the way: Lufthansa ticket prices increased by about 30% when Air Berlin stopped operating. Immediately, train bookings went up by 10%. Imagine airlines would start to pay 19% VAT, plus fuel taxes, plus emission certificates! Imagine at the same time, subsidies for non-profitable regional airports would be cut (11 Billion Euro in Germany!) and invested in the railway network, so that delays reduce to a Swiss or Japanese standard. Imagine railway operators would be freed from VAT, fuel taxes, emission certificates. Imagine there would be a fee for using streets, at the same price as the fee for using railway tracks. We could immediately move 30% of all traffic on to the railways, in the long run probably 50%!
But the reality is going to look different: the government is going to encourage electric cars (a homoeopathic improvement) and Google is going to provide us with self-driving cars – and once we have self-driving cars, we will shut down the railways because their last advantage in Germany is going to be gone!
While in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland a rudimentary night train network continues to exist, there is no possibility anymore to get from Germany, Switzerland or Italy to Spain in a comfortable, fast, and environment-friendly way. That used to be different!
The Trenhotel nighttrains with the ‘Elipsos’ brand use to cover Madrid-Paris, Barcelona-Paris, Barcelona-Milan and Barcelona-Zurich.
The trains disappeared in 2013. The ‘Elipsos’ were the most comfortable night trains in Europe, using Talgo trains of the last generation.
The aim of this petition is to re-establish the connection from Spain to Europe using the Talgo trains which currently rest in a state of semi-abandonment.
Read the full explanation and then sign the petition:
Directly to the petition:
„Für jede in Deutschland durch den Biodiesel eingesparte Tonne Kohlendioxid werden in Indonesien bis zu 30 Tonnen freigesetzt. “
„For every ton of carbon dioxide saved in Germany by using bio-fuel (biodiesel made from vegetable oils) there are 30 tons of CO2 produced in Indonesia.“
This is because Germany needs so much fuel, that it has to import palm oil — which is grown in Indonesian plantations in areas that used to be rainforest before, and the rainforest when being burned to free the ground emitts enormous amounts of CO2.
Biofuel is green washing at its worst. Supported by the German government (headed by the CDU and Angela Merkel, the „climate chancelor“), even though the disastrous consequences are by now well know.
According to Rome2Rio (all numbers for the round trip):
- Driving from Vienna to Munich takes 4h 11min, costs 45-65 Euro, and produces 136kg of CO2.
- Flying from Vienna to Munich takes 4h 1 min, costs 69-287 Euro, and produces 216kg of CO2.
Compensating this amount of CO2 on atmosfair costs 10 Euro.
- Taking the train from Vienna to Munich takes 3h 55min, costs 50-85Euro, and produces almost no CO2 (in particular in Austria, where about 75% of the electricity come from water power).
And: you get to see a lot of snow if you take the train (might be almost the last snow in Europe if we continue heating up the planet…)