Information published on 6 November 2009 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 159.

Environmentalists and Business Leaders Take the ‘Climate Express’ Train to Copenhagen

  • Sustainable development

More than 400 climate change negotiators, business leaders and environmental activists will travel together on board the Climate Express train to Copenhagen in a call for world leaders to agree a fair, ambitious and binding deal to address climate change when they meet at the UN climate summit in Denmark.

Personalities boarding the Climate Express train to Copenhagen on 5 December will include:
-  Mr. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director
-  Mr Paul Magnette, Belgian Federal Minister of Climate & Energy
-  Mr Etienne Schouppe, Belgian State Secretary for Mobility
-  Mr Matthias Ruete, Director General, Energy and Transport at the European Commission
-  Mr. Yoshio Ishida, UIC Chairman and Vice Chairman of East Japan Railways
-  Mr. Guillaume Pepy, CEO of SNCF
-  Mr Jannie Haek, CEO SNCB-Holding
-  Mr Marc Descheemaecker, CEO SNCB
-  Mr Francisco José Cardoso Dos Reis, President of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Railways (CP)
-  Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General.
-  Mr Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, IPCC Vice-President
-  Mr. Wang Shi, the Chairman of the Chinese Society of Ecology and Entrepreneurs and Chairman of Vanke corporation
-  Ms. Franny Armstrong, the producer and director of the film The Age of Stupid
-  Mr. Luo Hong, the wildlife photographer and UNEP Climate Hero
-  Mr Apa Sherpa, mountaineer and WWF Climate Witness

The Climate Express train, will travel from Brussels to Copenhagen on 5 December and will be the final leg of the ‘Train to Copenhagen’ project, organized by UIC with the support of the UN’s Seal the Deal! campaign and WWF, the global conservation organisation. The ‘on-track’ conference aims to raise awareness of the transport sector’s influence on climate change, and provides a key opportunity for the passengers on board to debate the key climate talks ahead, during workshops and round table discussions on the different aspects of sustainable mobility, and how this could be addressed in a post-2012 agreement.

The next generation climate regime, to be agreed upon in Copenhagen, must support the development of smart sustainable transport systems. Rail, as one of the most sustainable forms of transport, offers a space-saving, safe and low-carbon mass public transportation system. By drawing power entirely from renewable sources of energy, the journey on the Climate Express will be totally CO2-free. If the same group of people flew to Copenhagen instead of taking the train, they would produce 115kg CO2 per person.
Connie Hedegaard, the COP 15 host and Danish Climate Minister and Søren Eriksen, CEO of the Danish Railways (DSB), will welcome the Climate Express at arrival in Copenhagen.

Also as part of the ‘Train to Copenhagen’ project, the UIC Climate Change and Rail Seminar will kick off on 5 November in the Japanese city of Kyoto – the birthplace of the current Climate Change Protocol. The seminar, co-organized with the Asian railways, will highlight how transport can be part of the solution in the fight against global warming.

To underline what railways have to offer, a Global Rail Position Paper will also be carried by rail via Vladivostok, Moscow, Berlin and Brussels before reaching Copenhagen. Based on data gathered from international railways, the paper advocates a shift to rail from road and air, to support the transition to low-carbon mobility.

During the journey through Russia, environmental experts and climate change campaigners will report on the signs of global warming underway via www.traintocopenhagen.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Trn2Cpnhgn.

Mr Loubinoux underlines that “UIC believes that reducing transport emissions is a vital step in combating global warming. We in the rail sector are ready to be part of the solution. Keep Kyoto on track and Seal the Deal!”

A number of UIC members are undertaking local Train to Copenhagen campaigns to facilitate transportation to the COP15 for national delegations and other participants, including special fares. Check your local railway company for more information or www.traintocopenhagen.org

For more information please contact Mickael Stevns: stevns@uic.org