Climate protection: France bans many domestic flights

As of: 07/21/2021 9:25 a.m.

The French parliament has sealed a comprehensive legislative package on climate protection. Flights within the country are to be banned in the future if an alternative train connection of a maximum of two and a half hours exists.

After months of controversial debates, the French parliament has sealed a comprehensive legislative package on climate protection. After the Senate, the National Assembly also voted in favor of the government’s proposal. Among other things, it provides for a ban on certain domestic flights. In addition, a new offense called “ecocide” is being created, which criminalizes willful environmental damage on a national scale.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron sees the law as an “ecological turning point”. Environmental groups and sections of the opposition, on the other hand, accuse the government of a missed opportunity. The law bans short-haul flights within France if there is an alternative train connection of no more than two and a half hours. Connecting flights and international connections are excluded.

Weekly veggie menu in canteens

If convicted of “ecocide”, the perpetrators face up to ten years imprisonment and fines of up to 4.5 million euros. This punishes, for example, the willful pollution of a river or the air. The climate package also includes bonuses for the purchase of electric bicycles, a weekly veggie menu in canteens and a ban on advertising for fossil fuels such as gas or coal.

The 146 points of the legislative package go back to proposals by a climate citizens’ council that President Macron had convened in response to the “yellow vests” protests in 2018 and 2019. However, the government rejected some key proposals such as a climate referendum or a reduction in the speed limit on motorways from the current 130 to 110 kilometers per hour.

The law aims to help France reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. In early July, the French Supreme Administrative Court gave the state nine months to take appropriate action.

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