In an act many are calling hypocrisy, more than half of the Government’s delegation to the Copenhagen climate talks will be travelling by air! 19 delegates of the 38-member team have so far confirmed they plan to fly to the talks, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) budgeting up to £17,500 for the total cost of travel for all UK delegates – this amounts to around £420 per delegate. Perhaps they are going to rename it the Department for Causing Climate Change?
It is extraordinary that at least half of the UK delegation from DECC are travelling to Copenhagen by air, particularly when the dates of this conference have been known for months and many others have managed to arrange to get there by train.
The International Union of Railways, UIC, says train travel releases between three and 10 times less carbon dioxide than driving or flying and it is urging government officials and environmentalists to take the train to the United Nations climate change conference in Denmark on Dec. 7-18.
The UIC is also organizing a special "Climate Express" train on Dec. 5 to take some 380 people to Copenhagen from Brussels, where many activist groups, lobbyists, journalists and European Union officials are based. It says that trip will take only 12 hours — but will release less than a third of the carbon dioxide per passenger as flying.
It is completely unacceptable for ministers and public servants to travel in a way that produces the most damaging emissions when alternatives are clearly available.
This is just another example of the Labour Government saying one thing and doing another.
Some other travel possibilities:
*Beg a ride from an oil tanker, like these stranded climate activists.
*Capture the eco-promises of politicians and ride a hot-air balloon.
*When you’ve finally arrived, rent a bike. Or stay at a hotel that includes a bicycle with your room.
* seat 61 advises on rail travel.
Actually it's easy to travel from the UK to Copenhagen without flying, either by cruise ferry across the North Sea or overland all the way by Eurostar & sleeper train. DFDS Seaways luxurious cruise ferry 'Dana Sirena' sails from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark several times a week with InterCity train connections to Copenhagen. Or take Eurostar to Brussels and a high-speed train to Cologne, then the overnight City Night Line sleeper train 'Borealis' to Odense & Copenhagen. The choice is yours. A great alternative to an unnecessary flight, where the journey is part of the holiday.
Travel from London to Harwich by train, leaving London Liverpool Street at 14:18 and arriving Harwich 15:43. Harwich International station is right next to the ferry terminal. The train runs hourly, and the later 15:18 train from London will also connect, but the 14:18 departure gives plenty of time to catch the ferry. Double-check times at www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Then sail from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark aboard DFDS Seaways 'Dana Sirena'. The Dana Sirena sails from Harwich every Wednesday, Friday & Sunday at 17:45 (increased to every second day in June, July & August ), arriving in Esbjerg at 13:00 next day (day 2). www.dfds.co.uk will confirm sailing dates. The ship has cabins, restaurants, a bar, coffee shop and lounges. On arrival at Esbjerg, take a taxi or bus or simply walk to the railway station. Bus number 5 runs from the ferry terminal to the station every 20 minutes, bus fare 15 Kr adult 8 Kr child.
You can easily walk from the ferry terminal to the pedestrianised town centre in about 10-15 minutes, from where it's another 5-10 minutes walk to the station. Then travel from Esbjerg to Copenhagen by air-conditioned InterCity train, leaving Esbjerg town station at 15:41 and arriving Copenhagen at 18:49.
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