Niels Benedikter

Your Contribution: Air Travel

For our climate, it doesn't matter much whether you separate your trash or avoid plastic bags: with one intercontinental flight a year, you ruin all your ecological efforts.

"Aviation emissions are projected to consume approximately a quarter of the world’s remaining carbon budget by 2050." (Climate Nexus)

Gramms of CO2-equivalent per person and km, calculated at average occupancies:

Airplane: 200 g/Pkm
Car: 140 g/Pkm
Train and Bus: 25 g/Pkm

"In 2015, an average Swiss citizen travelled 9000km by plane, emitting approximately 3 tons of carbon dioxide. That is as much as for all other means of transportation (including car), plus heating the flat, plus electricity, plus warm water all together." (Der Bund)

Find out about your personal contributions:

What you can do

Avoid emissions: Start by taking at least one or two of your trips every year by train or night train instead of flying. And plan a holiday in Italy instead of Indonesia.

Compensate emissions: Compensate your flights via Atmosfair or MyClimate.

Avoid the Rebound Effect: "that if one compensates, one flies even more".

  • Choose your destinations so that you avoid flights: Plan your holiday on your home continent. Instead of two weekend trips, go for one longer visit. Bundle several trips together!
  • Use the train even if it might be more
    expensive The prize should never be the deciding factor, even if flying is occasionally cheaper!
    Often flying is not cheaper even though airlines make us believe it. Anyway, if we can spend 10€ on a drink, we can also spend 10€ on our environment.
    or take
    longer Maybe our environment is worth some minutes of our time?
    Even if you already took into account the time for printing the boarding pass, going to the airport, waiting at security, waiting at the gate, boarding 20min before departure etc.: On the train you can work during the whole trip, whereas all the time in security checks and walking around the airport is lost.
    than flying!
  • Night trains are a great option for comfortable climate-friendly trips. Check out the list under "Finding Train Connections" further down. On some connections you can even bring your car along on holiday.
  • Always check train connections first, e.g., on TrainLine.eu. Break the habit of looking for flights directly.
  • It is cynical that CO2-compensation offers us to compensate the consequences of our lifestyle by reducing emissions in poorer countries. Nevertheless: still better than nothing! But if you don't like the concept of CO2-compensation: calculate the amount and consider it an incentive to support another good cause on our planet. For example Médecins Sans Frontières, Breaking The Silence, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Terre des hommes, Yesh Din, PanEco, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, GiveWell, Evidence Action, B’Tselem, Stay Grounded...
  • A tablet with active digitizer pen combined with a shared online whiteboard like Ziteboard make collaboration easier. Together with Skype it works great for discussions with collaborators, reducing the need to travel. Together with a projector is also works very well for remote lectures.
  • Support political initiatives, vote, discuss climate issues, advocate rail travel!
Does my individual lifestyle matter?

Does the plane fly anyway? Actually not! Low-cost airlines frequently cancel underbooked flights. Don't we need institutional solutions? Yes, we do. But we also have to change our lifestyle!

  • John Nolt: How Harmful Are the Average American's Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
    Ethics, Policy & Environment Vol. 14, Issue 1, 2011.
    doi: 10.1080/21550085.2011.561584

    "It has sometimes been claimed (..) that the harm caused by an individual (..) is negligible. (..) this paper attempts to estimate the harm done by an average American. (..) the average American is responsible, through his/her greenhouse gas emissions, for the suffering and/or deaths of one or two future people."

  • Anne Schwenkenbecher: Is there an obligation to reduce one's individual carbon footprint? Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2014.
    doi: 10.1080/13698230.2012.692984

    "This paper focuses on the question of whether individuals (..) have duties to reduce their individual carbon footprint. To this end it will examine three kinds of arguments that have been brought forward against individuals having such duties: the view that individual emissions cause no harm; the view that individual mitigation efforts would have no morally significant effect; and the view that lifestyle changes would be overly-demanding. The paper shows how all three arguments fail to convince."

  • Stephan Lessenich and Der Freitag:

    "The knowledge of extreme inequality - that others don't have potable water while we are planing our next holiday - everyone has that. We blame it on politics, 'the system', or if nothing else on the weather. Because in reality it is unbearable, that billions of people suffer for us. One should at least conclude: I'm never going to fly again from Munich to Cologne. But instead of taking a train we say: 'The plane goes anyway'. Nobody changes her/his behaviour, because all the others don't do it either. Therefore the state should prohibit it or at least tax it highly.

    "Instead of coffee capsules there has been fair-trade coffee for a long time. It has a market share of about 3%. Ethical consumption is not common enough, but it also wouldn't make for a significant difference. We need completely different consumption structures here. We have to drink less coffee and juice, also eat less meat. We have to go without many things on a large scale to permit other societies to develop."

The Bill (4 minutes on Youtube).

Second Order Corrections

The following points contribute less to your emissions than a transatlantic flight, but they are the next biggest influences. If you want to do more, start here.

  • Do not commute by car, drive as little as possible. Go by foot, bicycle, or public transport.
  • Change to 'green' electricity.
  • Improve the heat insulation of your home and install a modern heating system.
  • Reduce your meat consumption:
    • Livestock accounts for ca. 18% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Producing pork or beef creates over 30 times as much emissions as the same amount of potatoes. An ecological diet can reduce your emissions by 300kg (low-meat diet) or even 600kg (organic vegan diet) of CO2 (and is also healthier).
    • If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef: "If every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef—even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed, even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this change could achieve 46-74% of the reductions needed to meet the US' 2020 Paris agreement target."

Then there are even smaller corrections, which I list below.

Finance and Investment
  • Climetrics Rating: planning to invest in funds? Check their climate-friendliness here. 5 green leaves = good, 4 green leaves = ok, "not disclosed" = stay away from it (even if it has a "green" name). Warning: even highly-rated funds could still invest in fossil fuels, as long as they invest only in their most efficient use.
  • GLS-Bank: biggest German ethical bank. Does not invest in weapons or fossil fuels, supports sustainable projects and renewable energies. Warning: might invest also in non-evidence-based medicine.

A smartphone has a carbon footprint of about 70kg CO2, of which 81% are for production and 12% for electricity. Not a lot compared to the 500kg for a flight from Germany to Spain! But when it comes to your slavery footprint your phone and clothing are significant.

Fair Clothing
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) defines environmental and social standards for production of textiles. In Germany "kbA" (for cotton etc.) and "kbT" (for wool etc.) designate organic production.
  • Hess Natur: partly also with production in Europe
  • Maas Natur: well-established
  • Armed Angels: new, relatively expensive
  • Pure Waste: textiles made from recycled cotton. (Cotton production was one of the main reasons for the drying out of the Aral Sea. The resulting salt plains produce dust storms and crops in the region are destroyed by salt being deposited onto the land. Summers have become hotter and the melting levels for the glaciers increased by 12 times, adding to the scarcity of water. An example for what we can expect on global scale due to climate change.)
  • For shoes not so many certificates are available. But Loints of Holland seems to produce in Europe and follows environmental standards. Also available in some offline shops.
Electronics
  • Refurbed.de (in Germany, Austria, and Poland): Buy refurbished smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. from company leasing programs. As good as new - and around 45% cheaper, 70% less CO2-emissions, less toxic trash.
  • Broke your laptop or your phone? Fixing is more sustainable than buying new. Instructions and spare parts on IFixIt; check also their "Fixability Rating" before buying.
  • Lubuntu is a free, open, user-friendly operating system (based on Ubuntu Linux) that speeds up old computers if reinstalling the original system is not sufficient. Works also on Apple MacBooks!
  • LineageOS is a lighter version of Android and can speed up your smartphone if a factory reset is not sufficient. If your phone is not in their list, google for inofficial builds.
    Should be even faster if you use microG instead of (Open)Gapps.

Avoiding plastic? Reusable coffee cup? Regionally grown potatoes? Nice, but marginal.

Politics

Legislation favours aviation:

  • flight tickets are VAT-free, whereas train tickets contain the full VAT
  • airlines do not pay kerosene tax, whereas railway operators pay full energy taxes
  • many small airports are unprofitable and heavily subsidised (for the purpose of offering cheap holiday flights with RyanAir?).
  • European airlines are only partially required to buy EU emission certificates
  • plane emissions (and ships) are not regulated by the Paris agreement, so states lack incentive to reduce air travel

All together, German society subsidises airlines with 11 Billion € per year! While at the same time

  • rail transport suffers from insufficient infrastructure capacity
  • night trains become unprofitable due to track access fees
  • hotels pay 7% VAT, whereas night trains pay 19% (in Germany)

From 2010 to 2015, European air travel grew by 57%! And Europe wants to become "green" simply by switching to renewable electricity?

Political initiatives
Background information

How many gigatons of CO2 more can we safely release?
In February 2016, we had 8 years left before breaking the limit of max. 2°C global warming.
Two years earlier, in April 2014, we had 17 years left!

Finding Train Connections

The most important webpages:

  • The Man in Seat Sixty-One: excellent train travel guide for anywhere in the world
  • Trainline: compares offers from different ticketing agencies; can save more than 70%. Includes also many night trains! (Loco2 is similar, but try both - they occasionally find different connections!)
  • Rome2rio: Compare flights, trains, ferries, buses between any two places in the world.
  • Interrail: by train and ferry to Greece, Turkey, Ireland, Gibraltar, great for holidays (non-European residents can use Eurail instead).
List of night trains in Europe
  • ÖBB Nightjet: www.nightjet.com
    Biggest European night train network; daily regular services, also with car transportation on selected connections.
  • Swedish Railways and Norwegian Railways operate night trains in Scandinavia, which are convenient to reach hiking destinations in the summer and wintersport destinations far north.
  • Schnee-Express: www.schnee-express.com
    Night trains from Northern Germany to Ski Areas in the Alps (running in the Winter)
  • Alpen Express Oostenrijk: www.treinreiswinkel.nl
    Night train from the Netherlands to Austrian Ski Areas
  • Train4You Urlaubs-Express: www.urlaubs-express.de
    Night train with car transportation between Hamburg and Lörrach (near Basel), Verona, Villach, Munich (seasonal)
  • MSM party trains: www.msm-gruppe.de
    Party trains for special events: Carneval in Cologne, Oktoberfest in Munich, beach train to North Sea...
  • Berlin-Malmö-Express: www.berlin-night-express.com
    Night train from Northern Germany to Sweden (in the summer and on selected holidays).
    The company Snälltåget operates also a night train from Malmö to the ski resorts in Åre/Duved 2x/week during the ski season.
  • BTE-Autoreisezug: www.bahntouristikexpress.de
    Night train with car transportation from Lörrach (near Basel) to Hamburg
  • Flixtrain: www.flixtrain.de
    Offers a night train connection from Lörrach and Freiburg to Hamburg. Does not run on all days. Very attractive ticket prices.
    Flixtrain also offers attractive prices on day trains Berlin-Stuttgart and Hamburg-Cologne.
  • RZD: Moscow-Berlin-Paris and Nice-Vienna-Moscow
    Luxury hotel train once per week, and Berlin-Moscow 3x/week. And of course the Transsiberian.
  • Optima Express www.optimatours.de: night train with car and motorcycle transportation from Austria to Edirne (near Istanbul), seasonal.
  • Many state railways in Eastern Europe still operate night trains. See the itineraries below for some examples (to Croatia, Hungary, Poland...) and check Seat61, Rome2Rio or the DB information system (even if you buy tickets online, they can be booked in railway stations or by phone).
  • Check out the lists of night trains collected by Interrail and Back On Track. Another list can be found on www.reisen-mit-der-eisenbahn.de, where you also find a description of night train comfort, and you can ask for hints and help with bookings ("Tickethelfer").
Recommended Itineraries

Here you find tested itineraries. On night trains I recommend sleeper car (Schlafwagen), which has real beds, fresh towels and a hand basin. Couchette (Liegewagen) is also ok, but I recommend to pay for occupation with four persons instead of six. Upper beds in couchettes may be too short for people taller than 1.80m. Earplugs can be useful. Most sleepers and couchettes have complimentary breakfast. See rail.cc for fotos and descriptions of an ÖBB NightJet.

In the last 4 years I have avoided all flights within Europe. I travel around 20000km/year by train and big parts of that on night trains. Travelling by night train can be enjoyable - I had many interesting conversations with fellow travellers.

Stuttgart - Vienna
  • Option 1: ICE to Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof and from there by ÖBB Nightjet to Vienna, arriving at 8:19. Advantages of this connection: less time on day trains, latest departure, more than 45min connecting time, sleeping until 7:30am.
  • Option 2: ICE or IC to Munich Hbf and from there by MAV EuroNight to Vienna, arriving at 6:35. Advantages: often cheaper than Nightjet, early arrival, couchette class modern and comfortable, train continues directly to Budapest.
  • Option 3: by day trains. On e.g. Fridays there are direct Railjet trains, otherwise a change in Munich is required. Advantages: can be much cheaper, starting at 39 Euro (using the Meridian and Westbahn with an additional change in Salzburg).

All three options can be booked on Trainline (look for the arrival times and number of changes in the list). But if the option for sleeper/couchette on the night trains does not show up, try also OEBB which seems to have a bigger contingent.

Return trip: the Nightjet to Frankfurt arrives for my taste far too early in the morning. On the other hand, the Friday afternoon direct Railjet from Vienna to Stuttgart (and onward to Frankfurt) is very convenient.

Vienna - London - Plymouth

The following connection works well, with safe connections and high comfort:

  • Vienna Hbf 20:41 - Cologne Hbf 8:15 (+1 day) by Nightjet NJ 40490, Cologne Hbf 9:43 - Bruxelles Midi 11:35 by ICE 214, Bruxelles Midi 12:52 - London St. Pancras International 14:05 by Eurostar EST 9133

You have time to step outside Cologne main station and take a look at the impressive cathedral of Cologne, and there are many options for waiting with coffee and a second breakfast in the station. In Bruxelles I can recommend a quick lunch with Belgian beer at 'La Brasserie de la Gare' just across the street from the main entrance of the station (tell them that you have a train to catch to get express service). Remember that you have to go through a security and passport check before boarding the Eurostar, for which you should plan 45 minutes to be on the safe side. The Eurostar departure terminal is easy to find in the main hall of Bruxelles Midi (it's called Bruxelles-Midi Eurostar, but it is just a particular platform inside the station of Bruxelles Midi).

For the return trip, take the following connection:

  • London St. Pancras International 15:04 - Bruxelles Midi 18:05 by Eurostart EST 9140, Bruxelles Midi 18:25 - Cologne Hbf 20:15 by ICE 19, Cologne Hbf 21:21 - Vienna Hbf 8:19 (+1 day) by Nightjet NJ 40421

Remember to be at St. Pancras 45 minutes in advance to go through security and passport check.

A word on tickets: for Cologne-London try to get a Sparpreis-Europa ticket from Deutsche Bahn, for the Nightjet compare prizes of Deutsche Bahn and Austrian Railways. For more information on the Eurostar (including the short cut for changing platform in Bruxelles when coming from London), see Seat 61.

From London you can reach almost all destinations in the UK by train, see Seat 61. We continued to Plymouth for camping in beautiful Cornwall. In the direction Plymouth to Continental Europe, do not plan a tight connection in London since trains in the UK are notoriously late.

Copenhagen - Zurich

Board the EC to Hamburg Hbf in Noerreport st around 15:27. For a short stretch the train is loaded on a ferry. Bring a dinner or have dinner on the ferry. In Hamburg, change directly to the ÖBB Nightjet to Zurich (if the EC is delayed, talk to the conductor, he can request the night train to wait a bit).

The connecting time in Hamburg is rather short (13 minutes) and the Danish train not always punctual. You may consider taking an earlier connection from Copenhagen to Hamburg - either an earlier direct EC, or via the mainland, changing in Fredericia and possibly Flensburg. Connecting times on the mainland may also be only 7 minutes, but these trains wait for each other, and are usually directly on the other side of your arrival platform. Additional advantage of the mainland connection: you cross the very impressive "Rendsburger Hochbrücke", which was the longest railway bridge in Germany until 2012.
If you arrive early in Hamburg, there are a number of very good dinner options near near the main station, e.g., "The Ramen Hamburg" (Rosenstrasse 5) or "Better Burger Company" (corner of Rosenstrasse and Gertrudenkirchhof square).

On the return trip, board the Nightjet in Zurich at 20:00. Next morning at Hamburg Hbf you have enough time to buy a coffee and take a little walk to the Binnenalster while waiting for the ICE to Copenhagen. Bring a lunch picnic on the train (there are plenty of shopping options in Hamburg main station) or have lunch on the ferry, then arrive at Noerreport st or Københavns Hovedbanegård in Copenhagen.

Check prizes on DB.de and OEBB.at and try Trainline. The direct connection gets closed sometimes (then bus replacement is mentioned in the schedule), in which case the slightly longer trip via Flensburg over the mainland is more reliable (involves 2 changes, but these are very reliable).

Brixen/Bressanone - Copenhagen

Take the EC from Brixen to Munich at 19:04. In Munich Hbf you have time to change to the ÖBB Nightjet going to Hamburg; from there on it is the same connection as in the previous example.

Stuttgart - Copenhagen

Take a late ICE from Stuttgart to Mannheim, in Mannheim take the ÖBB Nightjet towards Hamburg (departs around midnight), and from Hamburg take the ICE or EC directly to Copenhagen.
Alternatively, take a day train - it's a long trip (about 12h30), but requires only one change (in Hamburg), and it is cheap (around 35 Euro). On the ICE you can also have breakfast/lunch/dinner of acceptable quality and price.
The return trip Copenhagen - Stuttgart is reasonable only by day train. Expect to leave Copenhagen around 11:30 in the morning and arrive in Stuttgart around 22:50.

Zurich - Vienna

This is 7:50 hours with the railjet during the day, with a beautiful mountain landscape. Alternatively with the Euronight, departing from Zurich 21:40. The ÖBB train is very modern but bed rooms are rather small - if you don't know who's travelling with you I'd take the single occupation. Breakfast is included. This connection sells out quickly, book as early as possible!

Loop through Norway and Sweden

Copenhagen - Oslo by nightbus nettbuss.se (not much sleeping, but extremely cheap).

Oslo - Trondheim by direct train (luckily my scheduled departure was 2h after the scheduled bus arrival, since the bus was 1h late) - the landscape is grandios and the train cozy, good bistro with panorama windows and cheap coffee refill. (Alternatively there is also a night train from Oslo to Trondheim. Or to do the first two legs of the trip in one: A faster way of getting from Copenhagen to Trondheim is by taking the Snälltåget ski night train Malmö to Åre/Duved, from where it is only 3 hours by train to Trondheim.)

Trondheim - Tromsø with Hurtigruten post ship, 2 days on a very comfortable ship along a fantastic coast, in the winter affordable and with only few people on board.

Tromsø - Kiruna first with Bus Line 100 (no reservation possible and normally not necessary, buy ticket directly from driver with credit card) to Narvik (we arrived perfectly on time) and from there by train to Kiruna (there are only 2 trains per day, the earlier one has a direct connection with the bus; the later one has more buffer time but then it might be too dark already to see the impressive landscape).

Kiruna - Copenhagen: my longest train trip ever (1900km): I booked from SJ the following: Kiruna - Boden, ordinary IC train. (In Boden 30min break, I bought a pizza in the main street.) Boden - Stockholm on the night train (this train still has a restaurant car!). Next morning about one hour break in Stockholm and then X2000 train (with coffee flatrate) to Copenhagen.

Don't forget to watch our for Northern Lights, and try dog sledding.

Zurich - Marseille

This can be as fast as 6:12h via Basel. I chose however a longer connection: TGV to Paris, brought my picnic to the square in front of Notre Dame, and after lunch continued to Gare de Lyon, from where the TGV does the 800km to Marseille in 3:22h through beautiful southern France.

Zagreb - Zurich

A great journey through the Slovenian alps! The EuroNight leaves Zagreb at 18:38. No restaurant car, but you can have an early dinner in Zagreb or bring a picnic. Sleeper cars are modern and spacious. The train also has couchettes and ordinary cars, which come from Beograde. You'll receive a bottle of water in the evening and breakfast in your sleeper compartment in the morning. Tickets can be bought on OEBB.at or maybe Trainline.

Stuttgart - Rome

Take the ICE from Stuttgart to Munich (leaves around 18:23). In Munich change to the ÖBB Nightjet to Rome, next morning you have time for an extended breakfast while watching the beautiful Italian landscape (watch our for the impressive city of Orvieto ontop of the cliffs); arrive in the center of Rome at the unbeatable 9:22. (And remember that you just saved at least 80€ for an extra hotel night.)

Rome/Milano - Split (Croatia)

Trenitalia has modern direct trains to Ancona, the fastest taking 3h24 from Rome or 2h59 from Milano. During the first part of the trip the train is quite full, 1st class is worth the investment and not much more expensive. No gastronomical service on the train (not even water bottles). Landscape is beautiful, coast to coast through the Italian mountains and tiny villages. Plan in a few hours so that you can explore the harbour of Ancona, climb on the hilltop and buy food.
In Ancona, there are ferries to many Croatian towns, see Rome2Rio. For us the cheapest option was BlueLine Ferries (service seasonal and not every day). A 2-berth cabin is cheap, has a private bath room with shower and one can sleep very well. You can have dinner on the ferry, but it didn't look attractive. Before boarding, you have to go to a counter (a short bus ride, bus departs in front of the station) and get a boarding pass. Don't forget your ID card, Croatia is not part of the Schengen space!

Rome - Zurich (- Berlin/Hamburg)

Unfortunately there is no night train on this connection anymore. The trip takes in the best case 6:41 hours and costs 61.90€. You start with Trenitalia's Frecciarossa or with Italo to Milano. The trip takes 3h with both companies. Long stretches are travelled at 300km/h, the average speed on the 600km distance being around 200km/h!
In Milano, change to a EC to Zurich (through the longest and deepest tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel)!

Going for a really long trip? In Zurich you can connect to the ÖBB Nightjet to Berlin or Hamburg.

Stuttgart - Siofok (at the Balaton in Hungary)

It's quite a long time since I've done this trip... take the ICE at 20:23 from Stuttgart to Munich, in Munich change to the EuroNight to Budapest-Keleti but get out at Kelenföld, from there take the local train to Siofok. That was quite an adventure in 2004: the EuroNight was a nice train, but the local train was crappy. The ticket to Kelenföld can be bought online from DB; in 2004 it was possible to buy the complete trip from a DB office.

Copenhagen - Trieste

Leave Copenhagen with the EuroCity at 11:37, arrive in Hamburg at 16:22. Then take the ICE to Munich at 17:01, have dinner in the ICE restaurant car, arrive in Munich at 23:14. Continue with the ÖBB NightJet leaving Munich at 23:35 until Udine where you arrive at 6:23. Take one of the frequent regional trains to Trieste.
Remark on tickets: Copenhagen to Munich can be bought from Deutsche Bahn (I took first class since it is so long; in any case, take a seat reservation from Copenhagen to Hamburg!). The NightJet can be bought from ÖBB or DB. The Italian regional train can be bought from TrenItalia; TrenItalia online tickets for regional trains are valid for every regional train departing within 4 hours of the time printed on the ticket.
Side remark: In Trieste, take a ride on the Tram no. 2 - it has a great view, leads to SISSA with a short walk and for part of the trip, it is pulled like a funicular. Tickets can be bought at Tobacco shops (look for "T"-signs).

Tübingen (near Stuttgart) - Grenoble (near Geneva)

This is an easy one, just look for the connection on www.bahn.de. Fastest connection is 8h27, by local train to Horb, then IC to Zürich, then IC to Geneva, then by local train to Grenoble. However, the connection in Horb is tight (3 minutes), so better look for connections taking 8h40 via Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Lyon (all connections have more than 16 minutes). Tickets can be bought from DB or Trainline, but book early since SNCF can be expensive.

Stuttgart - Milan

You can travel via Zurich, but you have to change three times, in particular with very tight 3min transfer time in Schaffhausen. You probably won't make that connection. If you are not in a hurry, you can of course also plan a longer connection time in Zurich and go for a walk through the Bahnhofstrasse to the lake.

Alternatively, take the only EuroCityExpress in the world: This is a direct high-speed train connecting Frankfurt (Main) and Milan. Board the IC 2164 from Stuttgart Hbf (departure 7:59) to Karlsruhe Hbf, where you have 17min until the 9:10 departure of the ECE 151 to Milano Centrale. Total travel time is 7:36, only 4min slower than via Zurich. To book tickets online for this connections, you may need to play with disabling the "prefer fast connections" option, or adding a "via intermediate stop" in Karlsruhe.

If your trip starts with a local train (e.g., S-Bahn), from DB you can book directly from the S-Bahn stop for the same prize. Then your passenger rights also cover the S-Bahn in case of any delay. The part on the S-Bahn is not bound to a particular departure, even if you book a "Sparpreis"!

Passenger rights: If you miss a connection or if your train is expected to arrive more than 20 minutes late, you have the right to use all other trains to reach your destination! If you arrive more than one hour late you have the right to a compensation payment.