Private jet (archive photo)

Photo: Paul Zinken/ dpa

In the fight against global warming, Austria, France and the Netherlands are calling for stricter rules for private jets. In Germany, meanwhile, there is criticism that the federal government is not participating in the initiative.

These emit an excessive amount of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) per capita and are therefore justifiably criticized, according to a letter from the ministries of environment, transport and infrastructure of the three countries to the EU Commission.

In the letter, they call on the Brussels authority to "draw more attention to this issue and in particular to examine the possibility of greater regulation of private jet travel".

"Private jet flights are a hobby of the super-rich. But it can't be that we all pay for it," said Austria's Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler. Those who damage our climate must also make a fair contribution. Because we all bear the consequences of these luxury trips.«

According to the report, the number of private flights in the EU has increased again in recent years. According to an analysis published at the end of March by the research institute CE Delft, the number of private flights in Europe increased by 64 percent last year to 572,806.

"Germany should join the EU alliance against private planes," demands Martin Schirdewan, leader of the Left Party and chairman of the parliamentary group in the European Parliament. Private jets are "status symbols of an aloof elite that doesn't give a damn about climate protection and even travels short distances by plane," he told SPIEGEL. It is simply unfair when the federal government calls on everyone else to save energy, but at the same time the super-rich pollute the environment as they please," says the left-wing politician.

Paris has been looking for allies for months for a Europe-wide ban on private flights. Schirdewan continued: "The traffic light must finally turn red and put an end to the flight madness. Instead of passing exemptions for the super-rich, such as the EU's emissions trading scheme or the kerosene tax, the German government and the EU Commission must push for an EU-wide ban on private jets."

According to the European Parliament, civil aviation is responsible for 13.4 percent of CO2 emissions in the EU's transport sector. At the meeting of EU transport ministers this Thursday in Luxembourg, less climate-damaging flying is also to be discussed.