EU countries have been moving to ban short-haul flights, just as the UK is encouraging them by cutting taxes.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez proposed earlier this year to phase out plane journeys for routes which can be covered in less than two hours and a half by train.
Other Spanish measures planned by 2050 include taxing frequent travellers and short-haul flights.
Banning short-haul flights is believed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in Europe, which is why Austria and France have already taken the measure to replace short domestic flights with trains.
France banned short-haul internal flights where the same journey could be made by train in under two and a half hours in April.
And last year, Austria banned all flights under three hours by train and implemented a tax of 30 euros on all flights of less than 350km.
Australian Airlines also jumped in to help, by replacing its Vienna-Salzburg route with additional trains after receiving government funding to cut down CO2 emissions.
Dutch leaders have also shown signs over recent years that they intend to ban short domestic flights in The Netherlands.
Tories encourage flights between UK cities
Meanwhile, the Tories have just made it cheaper to fly between UK cities, slashing the Air Passenger Duty the week before COP26.
Speaking in Wednesday’s Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the planned cut would boost local airports – “and bring people together across the UK”.
Flights between airports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be subject to a new, lower rate of Air Passenger Duty – a move which Sunak said “will help with the cost of living, with nine million passengers seeing their duty cut by half”.
But, earlier this week, the Climate Change Committee advisory board warned the government was failing to reduce demand for flying as part of its strategy to reach net zero – after last month, the government published a research briefing which claimed it has a plan to “accelerate aviation decarbonisation” and “reach net-zero aviation emissions by 2050”.
‘Didn’t get the memo on the climate emergency’
Sunak’s Budget announcement angered environmentalists, with Green MP Caroline Lucas suggesting the Chancellor did not “get the memo on the climate emergency” – while Friends of the Earth branded the move “astonishing”.
It comes just days before world leaders are set to arrive in Glasgow for the UK-hosted COP26, the UN climate change summit.
The UN’s top climate official said the world could see ‘conflict and chaos’ if the conference does not result in decisive action.
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, warned that global security and stability could break down and migration crises and food shortages could be created if the Cop26 summit fails.