The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published its annual transport and environment report for 2020, assessing the impact of travel by train and aircraft. The European Green Deal includes an objective to reduce greenhouse gas emission from transport by 90% by 2050, when compared with figures from 1990, and shifting to more sustainable transport may help in achieving this objective.
Transport accounted for 25% of EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, with road transport accounting for 72% of transport emissions, while marine transport and aviation represented 14% and 13% of emissions respectively, and rail a share of 0.4%. 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.
The EEA assessment concludes that rail travel is the best and most sensible mode of travel, apart from walking or cycling. Aviation’s emission impacts are much higher on a passenger per kilometre basis, although 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.
Source: EEA, 24 March 2021