Information published on 12 November 2009 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 160.

Train to Copenhagen at the Barcelona Climate Change Talks 2009 – the last official United Nations prepatory meeting before COP 15 in December in Copenhagen

  • Sustainable development
  • Train to Copenhagen

More than 4,500 participants, including delegates from 181 countries, took part in the Barcelona UN Climate Change 2009 that place between the 2nd and the 6th of November. Train to Copenhagen participated actively with an official side event and exhibition stand.

The Train to Copenhagen side event took place at the 4th of November and started with the latest updates on the Train to Copenhagen, followed by three speakers who highlighted different aspects of the role of rail in sustainable transport system: Lew Fulton, International Energy Agency (IEA), presented “Low CO2 transport scenarios to 2050: the role of rail” based on a completely new study entitled Transport, Energy and CO2 – Moving Toward Sustainability”, Holger Dalkmann from Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) presented “Keeping climate change solutions on track” and the “Bridging the Gap” cooperation, while Juan Luis Martín Cuesta from Renfe added an impressive national touch to the event when presenting “Emissions reductions in praxis, the Spanish high speed example”.

The second half of event belonged to the Train to Copenhagen partners who gave statements on why they are involved with the Train to Copenhagen project. Peter Lockley from WWF made the link to WWF’s work on transport “One Planet Mobility” and mentioned that the Train to Copenhagen communications campaign is giving a unique possibility to put focus on transport and how to achieve sustainable mobility in the post 2012 climate regime. Melody Hossaini, British Council and representative for the young people on board, explained why rail is the transport mode for the future generations and how youth is involved with Train to Copenhagen. Sandra Freitas from the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) spoke about why transport is an important issue for gender and climate change, including the need for access not only to mobility itself, but also to decision making processes in relation to transport. Jan Kappen from the United Nations Environment Programme presented the cooperation between the UN campaign Seal the Deal and Train to Copenhagen, and emphasised the urgency of the reaching an agreement in Copenhagen.

The presentations and statements were followed by a lively discussion, including questions and remarks from the aviation sector and representatives from emerging economies. The side event was chaired Margrethe Sagevik, UIC. Most members of the active audience, including Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), chose to stay for the following network session which offered further possibilities for dialogue and awareness raising of the role of rail as a part of the solution for how to reversing the emissions from the transport sector.

As comment to the outcome of the Barcelona Cliamte talks 2009, with Copenhagen just four weeks away, the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer Mr. said that Barcelona had underlined both in a dramatic and in a quiet way that commitment and compromise will make Copenhagen the turning point. De Boer stated that progress had been made during the week on adaptation, technology cooperation, reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and mechanisms to disburse funds for developing countries, and that he was confident that Copenhagen would deliver a strong deal, which must include the immediate implementation of key actions in developing countries. “Copenhagen can and must be the turning point in the international fight against climate change - nothing has changed my confidence in that,” he said. “A powerful combination of commitment and compromise can and must make this happen,” he added. “Negotiators must deliver a final text at Copenhagen which presents a strong, functioning architecture to kick start rapid action in the developing world,” said Yvo de Boer. “And between now and Copenhagen, governments must deliver the clarity required to help the negotiators complete their work,” he added.

Presentations from the side event are available from:
http://regserver.unfccc.int/seors/reports/events_list.html?session_id=RAWG7-AWG9
(Wed 4 Nov at 19:45 – 21:15)

There was also a report on the side event in the Earth Negotiation Bulletin, the official reporter of the UNFCCC meetings, at:
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/rccwg7/enbots/4nove.html
(half way down)

For more information about the Barcelona Climate Change Talks 2009:
http://unfccc.int/meetings/intersessional/barcelona_09/items/5024.php

For further information please contact Margrethe Sagevik, Senior Advisor Sustainable Development: sagevik@uic.org and Delphine Margot, Communications Advisor: margot@uic.org