Information published on 9 December 2014 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 428.

UIC promotes investment in rail as a solution to climate change at the United Nations COP20 negotiations in Lima, Peru

  • Sustainable development

Through accreditation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UIC was invited to install a booth at the COP20 negotiating venue in Lima, Peru. UIC is using this booth to promote investment in rail as a solution to climate change, raise awareness of the Train to Paris campaign and reach out to key NGOs and decision makers.

The international debate on climate change is entering a crucial phase. After many years of work, COP20 is the last round of major international round negotiations before the legally binding agreement expected at COP21 in Paris, 2015.

UIC is following the development of two key activities associated with the UNFCCC process that are likely to present opportunities for greater investment in rail transport, these are Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) & Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

A NAMA focused event on 6 December was opened by Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, and Manuel Pulgar Vidal, COP20 President. Figueres emphasised the need for strong climate action before 2020 and recognised that successful NAMAs must respond to national circumstances. In her closing remarks, Figueres considered the transition from project-driven CDMs to policy-based NAMAs to economy-wide INDCs the post-2020 process, concluding; “The world is ready for the marathon. We have been training for the marathon whether we realise it or not”.

National Governments are currently developing their INDCs to be published by August 2015. However, given the challenging deadline there is some uncertainty regarding the level of detail that can be expected later next year. Nevertheless, strong investment to develop more sustainable transport systems is a clear requirement of the Climate Change 2 Degrees Scenario.

There is an increasing urgency following a number of recent reports setting out strong arguments for greater ambition and faster implementation of action to combat climate change. Notably, the draft decision of the Ad-hoc Durban Platform (ADP) Workstream 2 recognises the need for action in the near term. The ADP co-chairs have proposed a forum to support accelerated implementation of enhanced pre-2020 climate action, to identify opportunities to further expedite implementation, and to assess the need to mobilise financial resources, technological and capacity-building support for NAMAs in developing countries. Perhaps more importantly, the draft states that “Parties with greatest responsibility and those with sufficient capability are expected to take on absolute economy-wide mitigation targets, and that all Parties should aspire to this over time”.

As rail has a low carbon intensity, where absolute-economy wide mitigation targets are adopted these have great potential to drive modal shift and increase rail market share.

For further information please contact Nick Craven: craven@uic.org