German fliers ignore carbon off-set schemes

Germans may be green at home but not it seems, when they take to the air, with hardly any opting to pay extra to counteract their carbon footprint, Lufthansa says.

German fliers ignore carbon off-set schemes
Photo: DPA

Passengers on Germany’s flagship airline have the option of donating nine euros to My-Climate, a charity that supplies parts of India with electricity produced from renewable sources.

Just one percent of Lufthansa passengers pay the optional extra, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The airline’s website offers a carbon dioxide calculator to get a clearer picture of how much greenhouse gas their flight would generate.

Flying from Berlin to Frankfurt and back would, according to the calculator, produce half a ton of carbon dioxide.

Lufthansa’s report did show that German holidaymakers were more generous, with two percent of those flying with tourist charter airline TUIfly making a donation to off-set their carbon footprint.

Meanwhile in Berlin, documents have surfaced showing that regional water authorities warned more than a decade ago that flight paths to and from the capital’s new airport could increase pollution of the lakes supplying the city with drinking water.

Berlin’s state government dismissed the warning, with urban development minister Michael Müller telling the Berliner Zeitung, “We think that there is a relatively low risk of contamination to drinking water during times of normal air traffic.

Federal Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said the delay to the new airport’s opening – due for this Sunday, but now postponed until next March – was no reason to doubt Germany’s ability to complete big engineering projects.

“Globally the German construction industry and engineers are highly valued. More mistakes are made elsewhere. We do not need to immediately fall into the typically German navel-gazing,” he told the Bild newspaper on Sunday.

The Local/jcw

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.