Dutch officials are limiting the number of international flights leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in order to help address the climate change crisis.
Government officials in the country announced earlier this month that restrictions would be imposed on all international flights leaving the Netherlands, in order to cut carbon emissions and help achieve climate goals. The plan is part of the country’s attempt to pursue a “new balance” between the economic benefits derived from Schiphol and the airport’s impact on area residents and the environment.
Aviation accounts for about 2.5 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions globally. But as CNN reported, an individual country’s contributions to those emissions can be steep. This is particularly true in small countries that are hubs for a great deal of air traffic. Some countries have turned to aviation to help address climate change and reduce their impact on the planet. Amsterdam’s Schiphol is one of the busiest airports in Europe.
There have also been efforts within Europe to limit short-haul and local flights. But up until now, international flights have not been the target of such efforts.
International air carriers have not been supportive of the plan. Netherland’s flagship carrier, KLM, told CNN that it doesn’t believe the move aligns with international policy.
“KLM believes that sustainability policies—due to the global scope of aviation—should be regulated internationally as much as possible,” the company told CNN. “Being the only country in the world to set up a national CO2 ceiling does not match with an internationally operating sector and international policy.”
A group of airlines that includes KLM, as well as Delta and easyJet, have banded together to sue the Dutch government over its plans to help address climate change.
“In addition to negatively impacting the Dutch economy, the capacity reduction would significantly reduce travel options and connectivity for consumers,” said the airlines involved in the legal action, according to the Associated Press.
For its part, the Dutch transport ministry said in a statement that Schiphol and other affected airports could spread the reductions over several years. “The maximum CO2 emissions set for each airport will apply for several years so that an exceedance in one year can be compensated in subsequent years,” the transport ministry said.
The move to address climate change is part of the Dutch government’s “Preliminary Scheme Schiphol,” which proposes drawing down flight numbers from half a million to 460,000 starting in the winter of 2023 and through the summer of 2024.
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