Europe on Rail advocates for rail as a global solution for the climate crisis

Friday, 18 November 2022

Recent IPCC reports have emphasized the gravity of the climate crisis and the need for immediate and sustained political will, impactful action and effective cooperation. Sustainable mobility is essential if we want to reach the climate targets set by previous agreements. Thus, the railway sector can serve as a key pillar of low-carbon mobility of the future. Passenger rail’s modal share has stagnated at around 6-7% in the last decade. Rail share must grow by more than 40% to get the sector back on a Paris-compliant track.

The International Union of Railways (IUC), which is advocating for More trains for a better future, took advantage of the COP27 to present its new More Trains Alliance. This Alliance counts with numerous actors of the rail sector and intends to unite the global railway community under a single voice with consistent and clear messages in order to help increase the coordination within and add strength to rail’s collective advocacy.

The More Trains campaign illustrates the contribution that rail can make in achieving carbon-neutral transport, with concrete examples that are already implemented. It brings together success stories from rail around the world under the four key transformational areas: transforming cities and connecting communities, energy, technology and innovation, intermodality and seamless connection, and customer experience. It also features alternative financing models that enable More Trains to decarbonize and become more sustainable.

Rail was also present at the EU Pavilion of the COP27 through an online side-event on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). This EU policy addresses the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of railway lines, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports and railroad terminals. The ultimate objective is to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and technical barriers, as well as to strengthen social, economic and territorial cohesion in the EU.

The urgency of the climate crisis is becoming more and more obvious and reducing global transport greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will be challenging. A modal shift from aviation and road to rail, both in Europe and globally, must happen to reduce rapidly and drastically transports’ emissions and, therefore, contribute to the fight against climate change and global warming. For that, Europe has to set the course towards becoming the rail continent.

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