Information published on 4 March 2014 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 388.

UIC presents the state-of-the-art for managing diesel and CO2 emissions from railway activities to the UNECE Inland Transport Committee and UNESCAP

  • Sustainable development

UIC was invited to present the state-of-the-art for diesel and CO2 emissions from rail transport to the 76th session of the UNECE Inland Transport Committee held in Geneva from 25 – 27 February 2014. Nick Craven represented UIC and presented the results of two recently concluded studies.

These included the UIC-led Sustainability Work Package for the part EU-funded CleanER-D project. The project findings highlighted that rail diesel emissions (NOx and PM) are already low (less than 4.5% of total transport emissions in 2008), have decreased by about 35% from 1990 to 2008 and are expected to decrease further due to the introduction of new technology, better operating procedures, and increased electrification. The emission scenario developed for the project estimated that by 2020 emissions of NOx will decrease by a further 37%, and 46% for PM.

UIC also presented the Railway Handbook 2013 on Energy consumption and CO2 (http://www.uic.org/spip.php?article3193). This joint publication with the International Energy Agency presents high quality data, provided directly by members and verified by the IEA. Key points illustrated by the Handbook include:

  • The transport sector in 2010 was responsible for about 23% of total CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in the world.
  • In 2010, road was responsible for 72% of total CO2 emissions caused by the transport sector globally, transporting 34% of people and goods. Railway moved 9% of passengers and freight with an impact of 3% of total transport CO2 emissions.
  • Worldwide, CO2 emissions per passenger-km went down by 32% in the period 2000 –2010; CO2 emissions per freight tonne-km shrunk by 18% in the same period.
  • In the European Union, railways have already largely exceeded the target of 10% of renewables in the energy mix: they are at 18% in 2010 while the transport sector as a whole is at 5%.

The UNECE Inland Transport Committee is attended by representatives of national governments and considers regulation and development of international transport corridors.

In a communication separate to the UNECE meeting, UIC has also been recently notified that UNESCAP will use the Railway Handbook to promote inter-modality in the Asia Pacific Region and also to strengthen its work on shaping the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This engagement with UNECE and UNESCAP follow on from the decision taken at the December 2013 UIC General Assembly to ensure that UIC and the rail sector have greater visibility at international level and with the United Nations. Highlighting the strong environmental performance of rail transport is one part of the UIC strategy to advocate greater investment in rail transport.

For further information please contact Nick Craven, Head of UIC Sustainability Unit: craven@uic.org