The National Digest

People Want To Travel More Sustainably. But We Need Help To Do It

Choosing the train over the plane costs more in time and money. That’s where the state and employers can step in

It’s almost funny – the start of a comedian’s dark, sardonic joke in an Edinburgh fringe show. We are in the midst of a climate emergency, witnessing firsthand the results of carbon emissions reaching record highs – and yet if you want to make your way from London to the Scottish capital this summer, you’re incentivised to travel in the most unsustainable way. The problem is, there’s no punchline.

Taking a flight from London to Edinburgh results in 193kg of CO2 emissions; opting for the train means you produce 24kg – that’s 87% less. But as I compared both prices and travel times for my journey, opting for air travel was not only quicker, it also cost much less. Later in the year I’d like to visit a friend in Barcelona: I can fly in November for £37; train travel is more than £250.

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