Press release from UmverkehR, CH, during Week of Action, April, 2018 (translated):
The transport organization UmverkehR and the coalition Luftverkehr Umwelt und Gesundheit (KLUG) today handed an open letter to Federal Councilor Doris Leuthard. The letter contains specific demands on climate protection in relation to air and rail transport. Against 100 organizations, associations and parties bear the demands. The handover will take place within the framework of the Action Week of “Back on Track”, the coalition for the promotion of international train connections.
If Switzerland wants to achieve the Paris climate targets, it must adapt its transport and climate policy. The Paris climate goals want to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and better 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. Without inclusion of air traffic emissions, this goal can not be achieved. Air traffic in Switzerland accounts for over 18% of the man-made climate effect. According to forecasts for 2030, the number of passengers at Swiss airports is 78 million. That’s 28 million more than today! Aviation will become the biggest driver of climate change in Switzerland until 2030.
Low ticket prices promote air travel instead of train service
Compared to our neighbors, Swiss are twice as likely to travel by plane. More than 80% of flights from Switzerland have a destination within Europe. Here is a correspondingly large reduction potential. This can be provided in particular by the night trains, as they represent a climate-friendly alternative to the aircraft for distances of up to 1,500 kilometers. “The low prices for airline tickets are a significant competitive disadvantage, especially for the climate-friendly night trains. In doing so, traveling by train will put a much less burden on the climate than on a plane journey, “says Daniel Costantino, Campaign Manager of umverkehR.
Adaptation of climate protection goals is imperative
“If Switzerland wants to achieve the Paris objectives, it must urgently adapt its transport and climate policy,” says Priska Seiler Graf, co-president of KLUG. The letter to Federal Councilor Leuthard calls for the following measures:
– Switzerland charges an air ticket, which covers the true cost of air traffic.
– Switzerland is campaigning for a kerosene tax on an international level. This commitment is actively communicated, nationally and internationally.
– Switzerland promotes a modal shift towards more sustainable modes of transport, especially railways.
The organizations UmverkehR, KLUG, Association Clém Genève, Alliance Sud, Foot traffic Switzerland, Greenpeace Switzerland, IGÖV, Climate Alliance (with over 70 organizations), Pro Bahn Switzerland, Pro Velo Switzerland, Swiss Energy Foundation, Swiss Youth for Climate, VCS Switzerland, WWF Switzerland, Green Switzerland, Young Green Switzerland, SP Switzerland and JUSO Switzerland are calling on Federal Councilor Leuthard to support, promote and actively communicate the aforementioned measures as Transport and Environment Minister. The letter was today received on behalf of the DETEC Information Officer, Dominique Bugnon, on the Bundesplatz.
Actions planned throughout Europe
The International Coalition “Back on Track” will be taking action throughout Europe from 7 to 15 April 2018. These are intended to strengthen cross-border rail traffic and, in particular, the position of night trains. This also benefits climate protection.
Action of the Climate Alliance Switzerland scheduled tomorrow, Tuesday
Tomorrow, members of the Commissions for Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy UREK will receive an action from the Climate Alliance Switzerland. The Commission meeting will deal with the petition submitted by the Climate Alliance Switzerland in June 2015 with 107,765 signatures. The petition demands that Switzerland undertake more for climate protection. At 07:45 clock offers the opportunity to take interesting photos in front of the Federal Palace.
For further information:
Daniel Costantino, Campaign Manager UmverkehR, 079 647 83 48
Priska Seiler Graf, Co-President KLUG, 076 571 06 48