It’s Tuesday, April 13, and France wants to ban short-haul flights.

The National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, voted on Saturday to ban domestic flights between cities that could be reached by train in less than two and a half hours, citing the high carbon emissions of air travel. 

The Assembly approved the legislation as part of a broader package to slash the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The bill will now progress to the French Senate. If passed, it would be the first country to ban flights due to climate change

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Short-haul flights are some of the worst offenders for carbon emissions, since airplanes burn a lot of fuel during take-off and landing. According to one U.K. analysis, every passenger on a short domestic flight is responsible for about 0.9 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile traveled; a train, on the other hand, releases only about 0.15 pounds of CO2 per passenger-mile. 

While the law would make France the first country to ban some aviation to fight climate change, it likely won’t affect many flights. One analysis estimates it would only scrap about five routes, including flights from Paris to Lyon, which is a 2-hour train ride south of the French capital. A group of citizens assembled by President Emmanuel Macron to shape climate policy had earlier suggested banning any plane trip that could be reached by train in less than four hours. 

Shannon Osaka

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Ysabelle Kempe