Airplanes emit 176 times more CO2 than trains

Monday, March 15, 2010

While we're on the subject of trains, Norway is debating (though it doesn't seem likely to happen) the idea of installing a seat fee for passengers of 100 kroner ($17 USD) on airplanes which would then go towards rail infrastructure. Some opposed to it say in that article that it's too general a fee, and offers airlines no incentives to fly fuller planes (fuller planes = less CO2 emissions per capita) and would just end up as a penalty to them that they can do nothing about.

Putting the debate aside for a moment, the article also has some interesting stats comparing modes of transport with each other:

That's the amount of CO2 emitted per person for a trip from Oslo to Bergen. The 38 kg given there for a car assumes a single person driving it.

Since Oslo and Bergen are only 304 km apart, there really is no reason for there not to be a fast rail link connecting the two in terms of distance, though the terrain between them isn't all that hospitable. On top of the terrain, Göteborg/Gothenburg in Sweden to the southeast is a mere 254 km from Oslo, has a larger population than Bergen, would be a larger contributor to inter-European rail (Sweden already has high-speed rail connecting cities like Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm), and the terrain is much nicer. The mountainous nature of the terrain between Oslo and Bergen makes the actual journey 500+ km, while to the southeast it's pretty much flat. So (though I know little about Norwegian politics) it looks like cooperating with Sweden on a rail link between the two would be an easier option than slapping a penalty on airlines for a link to Bergen.


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