The European Union claims to be a reference in environmental laws and ecological policies, but on the other hand it forces dozens of thousands of planes to fly without passengers.
The pandemic in general, and the Omicron variant in particular, is affecting our society in many different ways, beyond the health drama.
Its effects produce nonsense that is difficult to understand, from an economic and environmental point of view.
The most absurd is the obligation to charter tens of thousands of empty flights for airlines to keep their seats at airports.
The European Union is a pioneer in countless environmental laws. Aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030, and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
However, today it maintains an air regulation that forces airlines to charter dozens of thousands of completely empty flights, with the environmental expense that this entails.
The reason is that the airlines have assigned a quota of takeoffs and landings at airports, and must meet at least 80% of that quota, if you don’t want to lose your rights.
Due to the pandemic, currently the quota is set at 50%. But because of the Omicron variant, tens of thousands of flights have been canceled this winter.
As reported by our colleague Andrea Núñez-Torrón in Business Insider, the Lufthansa company will have to charter 18,000 empty flights this winter campaign, to meet its quota.
And that is only one airline, many others will have to do the same.
An airplane emits between 900 and 1,350 tons of CO2 on a trip from New York to Madrid. By comparison, a person pollutes about 8 tons of CO2 per year.
So each flight is equivalent to the pollution of up to 169 people for a whole year. If we multiply that by the dozens of thousands of empty flights to be chartered this winter, the number is overwhelming.
Obviously these empty flights do not make long journeys, but even so we are talking about Hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 emitted with no practical utility.
This regulation has long been criticized by environmentalists, but according to Business Insider, even EU ministers, such as the Belgian Minister of Mobility, Georges Gilkinet, they ask that this law is changed because “it’s environmental, economic and social nonsense“.
From a common sense point of view, it seems logical to look for alternatives to these empty flights. From economic sanctions to the loss of part of the quota. Or even free or low-cost flights.
Anything seems better than chartering empty flights, generating expenses and polluting unnecessarily, to meet a quota.