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Europe: European rail sector to cut CO2 emissions by 30%

May 2008.

The CEOs of the European railway and rail infrastructure companies committed themselves to a cut in the specific CO2 emissions of trains of 30% over the period 1990 to 2020.

This target will help to contribute towards the reduction in emissions from transport that is necessary in order to meet the EU’s target of a 20% cut in absolute greenhouse gas emissions over the same period. At the General Assembly of CER and UIC in
Brussels, the companies decided to take this step which will underline the rail sector’s position as the most sustainable major mode of transport. “In spite of the improvements of the other transport sectors, rail transport is already the least polluting major mode of transport,” said Executive Director Johannes Ludewig. “The external costs our sector is producing are only a fraction of those of the road sector. But we wish to do even better, and use
every possibility to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions further.”
The ambitious cut of 30% by 2020 will be brought about by a range of methods, including technological innovation such as optimising the regeneration of braking energy, fleet modernisation, and operational procedures such as energy efficient driving (‘eco-driving’).

“There will be important investments from the companies required in order to achieve this goal,” Mr Ludewig said. “But when the possibility of internalising external costs – which is foreseen in the upcoming Eurovignette Directive revision – will become a political reality, this investment will pay off. In any case, the railways are convinced that creating a sustainable transport system is
crucial not only for the future of the sector, but a question of responsibility to society.”

The decision came just one day after John Schellnhuber, one of the most distinguished climate researchers in
Europe, addressed a CER conference in Brussels in which he outlined recent research that underlines the urgency in tackling climate change.


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