Motorised transport: train, plane, road or boat
The European Green Deal includes the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emission from transport by 90% by 2050 compared with 1990. Shifting to more sustainable transport can make an important contribution to reaching this objective.
For passenger transport, a shift from air to rail travel can play a key role, the report says.
Environmental impact of trains and planes
Transport accounted for 25 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. This sector’s emissions come primarily from road transport (72 %), while marine transport and aviation represent shares of 14 % and 1 3% of emissions, respectively, and rail a share of 0.4% (emissions by diesel trains only). Apart from their direct contribution to global warming and air pollution, emissions that take place during the production, transmission and distribution of energy used by trains and aircraft are also considered.
Transport also causes non-exhaust emissions of air pollutants, for example from the abrasion of brakes, wheels and tyres or railway tracks.
Train or plane?
But the report notes that flying is not necessarily the most harmful choice. Travel by a petrol or diesel-powered car, especially if traveling alone, can be more harmful.
Rail and waterborne transport have the lowest emissions per kilometre and unit transported, while aviation and road transport emit significantly more.
Shifting to rail and waterborne transport should be encouraged while at the same time improving the greenhouse gas efficiency of all motorised forms of transport, the briefing says.
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