Cutting the Carbon and Enjoying the Scenery

As reported in last week's New York Times:

Eurostar, which runs the high-speed train service linking London to Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, has started running ads in travel trade publications asserting that a journey produces only one-tenth the carbon dioxide emissions of a comparable flight. Some of the ads include a drawing of an airplane in the form of a burning cigarette.

Eurostar Chief Executive Richard Brown says:

The research shows that travelling by Eurostar is less environmentally damaging than flying by a factor of ten. A Eurostar passenger generates enough CO2 to fill a Mini, while an airline passenger generates enough to fill a double-decker bus.

The Eurostar website now includes details about their research.

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The campaign may be working. Ridership is up 9.9% in the third quarter of 2006. A Eurostar spokesman tells the BBC:

We have been surprised and pleased at the increasing number of passengers who say that the environment is a growing reason for switching to Eurostar, and who are prepared to make Eurostar part of longer, connecting rail journeys than in the past.

The media is on the bandwagon as well. This weekend the London Sunday Mirror urged holiday travelers to ride the train, cut the carbon and enjoy the scenery.

Meanwhile, back here in the good ol' USA substantive discussion about climate change, apparently, was not cleared for take-off this election season. As we wait in line removing our shoes for airport security, our nation's leaders gut America's rail system.

Photo: John D. McHugh/Agence France-Presse-Getty Images