Less than a month remains before the journey from Kyoto to Copenhagen begins. The Train to Copenhagen coordination meeting on 28 October was the opportunity to discuss the programme, the participants on board, communications activities and to be updated on local campaigns.
In one week, on the 5-6 November, UIC and the Asian Regional Assembly will be organising a seminar on Climate Change and Rail. The seminar will take place in the Japanese city of Kyoto, the birthplace of the current Climate Change Protocol. From this seminar the Asian railways and UIC will send a message to the COP15 participants on how the railways can be part of the solution in the fight against global warming. The message underlines how the next generation climate regime, to be agreed upon in Copenhagen, has to support the development of smart sustainable transport systems. Rail is offering an efficient low carbon mass public transportation system, as well as safety and space efficiency.
The message will be brought to Copenhagen through a symbolic rail journey from Kyoto to Copenhagen. On the 21st of November a small group will depart from the Russian city of Vladivostok and via the Trans-Siberian Railway carry the message to Copenhagen, stopping along the way in a number of cities. During the journey, an environment expert, a NGO and climate change campaigners will send eye-witness accounts of global warming signs underway which can be followed at www.traintocopenhagen.org.
This travel team will join the Climate Express in Brussels. The train will depart from Brussels 5 December at 09:10 and arrive in Copenhagen at 22:50 stopping in Cologne at 12:32 and Hamburg at 16:34. The seminar will consist of a mixed program with focus on transportation and climate change. High level sessions will open and close the journey, and a special session on the importance of COP15 is planned. The saloon coach will host four dedicated transport workshops (Discussion “Future of Transport”, High speed rail – a sustainable mode of Transport, Benefits of shifting freight from road to rail and Addressing Transport in the Post 2012 Process). On the top of this, six interactive debates will be organised in different coaches and a market place coach will give the participants the opportunity to present their projects and initiatives.
A number of key participants have confirmed their presence on board the train amongst others Mr. Ishida UIC President and Vice chairman of Japan East Railways, Mr. Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director and Mr. Van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the IPCC. Many journalists from the international press have also booked their seats and more media from various parts of the world are expected soon. Members are expected to provide UIC with the final list of participants by 9 November.
Before the arrival of the train, DSB will offer a free 24h ticket valid for all public transport in Copenhagen to the travellers. At the arrival in Copenhagen the Climate Express will be welcomed by COP15 hostess and Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard and the CEO of DSB Soeren Eriksen.
Two wagons will be branded with UNEP/ Seal the Deal! and WWW/Vote Earth designs and nine coaches of the train will be decorated with the Train to Copenhagen visuals, including participating project partners and sponsors, and UIC participating members.
During the journey, a team of illustrators will capture the on board activities and produce a mural which will be displayed in Copenhagen during the COP15.
Besides, the message brought to Copenhagen was agreed upon. It will be supported and signed by all participants on the train and will be given out to Connie Hedegaard at the arrival. The message will be “Keep Kyoto on Track; Seal the Deal!”.
The global rail position paper, supporting the Train to Copenhagen communications campaign, will be available in a few days on the Train to Copenhagen website. It will be presented at the UNFCCC meeting in Barcelona, the last round of pre negotiations before COP15, . The paper highlights how transport is a key sector to address in regards to climate change and highlights how rail is a part of the solution in regards to a transition to low carbon mobility. UIC will be organising a side event in Barcelona, together with UNEP, WWF and RENFE, on how to integrate transport policy and sustainable mobility in the climate change debate.
A member’s area has been opened on the Train to Copenhagen website where all information and documents related to the project can be found. All members are invited to register and access this working space.
The last coordination meeting will take place in Paris on 18 November.