This week there was a news release by the Eurostar company about the comparative emissions of a Eurostar trip vs. the same trip via airplane.
each passenger on a return flight between London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle generates 122 kilograms of CO2, compared with just 11 kilograms for a traveller on a London-Paris return journey by train. A round trip between London Heathrow and Brussels airport generates 160 kg of CO2 per passenger, against only 18 kg of CO2 for a return journey by rail.
The distance between London and Paris is 495km or 298 miles via car (and probably close to what the train distance is). But the plane trip is shorter since the Chunnel is to the north of the straight-line route. The straight-line distance is 214 miles between Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle Airport. Google map of car route here. So the train pays a route penalty but still manages to easily beat the airplane.
Airplane: 0.57 CO2kg/mile. Train is between 0.037-0.05 CO2kgs/mile.
For the London to Brussels route, the car route is 418km or 251 miles. The Chunnel looks to be inline with the most direct route. The straight-line distance is 219 miles. Google map of car route here.
Airplane: 0.73 CO2kg/mile. Train is between 0.07-0.08 CO2kgs/mile.
Passengers who fly between London, Paris and Brussels generate ten times more emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) than travellers who go by rail, according to a study commissioned by train operator Eurostar.
The research shows that each passenger on a return flight between London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle generates 122 kilograms of CO2, compared with just 11 kilograms for a traveller on a London-Paris return journey by train. A round trip between London Heathrow and Brussels airport generates 160 kg of CO2 per passenger, against only 18 kg of CO2 for a return journey by rail.
Eurostar claim the figures are the most detailed ever produced and are based on actual passenger numbers, exact distances of rail and air routes, actual aircraft types in use on different routes, and the mix of electricity sources used by the companyâ€™s high speed trains.
Eurostar chief executive, Richard Brown, said: â€œTravellers are increasingly demanding factual information about the environmental impact of their travel plans, and what they can do to reduce emissions of gases which are causing climate change.â€
With journey times between London and the Continent set to be cut by 20 minutes with the opening of the line into St Pancras in autumn 2007, Eurostar say the environmental advantages of using their service will be further increased. The research also shows that travelling by high-speed rail will generate even less CO2 per passenger in future years, due to increased supplies of renewable energy and UK policies to reduce CO2 emissions.