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ENVIRONMENT

French football giants PSG fly into storm over plane journeys

French football giants Paris Saint-Germain made light work of their opponents Nantes in an away league game this weekend but then received a volley of criticism for making the relatively short journey to western France by plane.

French football giants PSG fly into storm over plane journeys
Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

“From Paris to Nantes with @qatarairways!” the Qatar-owned side tweeted as it showed Kylian Mbappe and other PSG stars boarding a jet for Nantes, just 380 kilometres from Paris.

The PSG side notched up an easy 0-3 victory to stay top of Ligue 1 and another video emerged on social media of its stars looking happy and relaxed on the trip home.

But with the carbon footprint of sports stars now coming under increased scrutiny, the video was seized upon by Alain Krakovitch, the head of SNCF’s TGV high-speed passenger trains.

“Paris-Nantes is in less than two hours by TGV,” he said on Twitter.

“I renew our proposal for a TGV offer adapted to your specific needs in line with our common interests — safety, speed, services and eco-mobility,” he added.

Qatar Airways, the emirate’s flag carrier, are the shirt sponsors of PSG.

The controversy comes against the background of a growing clamour in France from ecologists for restrictions on private jet travel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pressure group Attac had on Friday pilloried PSG’s Argentinian star Lionel Messi for his use of private air travel.

“From June to August, Messi made 52 flights with his private jet, amounting to 1,502 tons of CO2 emissions. That’s as much as a single French person would be responsible for in 150 years,” it said.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

France destroys seaside flats threatened by coastal erosion

French authorities on Friday started demolishing a seaside block of flats that has come to symbolise the country's battle against climate change-linked coastal erosion.

France destroys seaside flats threatened by coastal erosion

When the four-storey building was built behind the beach in the southwestern Gironde region in 1967, it stood 200 metres away from the shoreline.

But its 75 or so flats in the town of Soulac-sur-Mer had to be evacuated in 2014 after the sea crept up to within 20 metres of the structure.

Local authorities scrambled to rid the building of asbestos in the following years, before a huge mechanical digger took a swing at its facade on Friday, as several former residents looked on.

“It’s the memories of four generations” that are being destroyed, said 76-year-old Vincent Duprat, one of the home owners.

The sea “has taken back what is rightfully hers”.

MAP The French towns at urgent risk from coastal erosion

Environment Minister Christophe Bechu said the demolition was a sign of “what the rising waters and coastal erosion have is store for lots of other areas along the French coastline”.

By 2100, 20 percent of the coastline and up to 50,000 homes would be affected, he said.

Erosion is a natural phenomenon that has helped shape our continents over millennia.

But scientists say it is being accelerated by the warming of the planet, exacerbated by rising sea levels brought about by melting ice caps and glaciers, and by the more powerful waves that warmer oceans hold.

The sandy beaches of the Bay of Biscay between France and Spain are expected to recede by 50 metres by 2050, the Observatory of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Coastline says.

But climate change and rising sea levels could increase this by an extra 20 metres in some areas, the Observatory’s Nicolas Bernon said.

In 2020, after a seven-year legal battle, a court ruled that French authorities should compensate families who had been forced to evacuate the building in Soulac-sur-Mer to the tune of 70 percent of the original value of their homes.

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