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Home > Cooperation with the UN > UIC and UNFCCC > COP14-Poznań


“The climate is right for rail”

Friday 7 September 2012

In 2008, climate change was being recognized as a global issue, and most of people acknowledged the need of acting urgently to reducing the human
activities causing the global warming. The transportation sector being one of the major producers of green house emissions , efforts need to be done to mitigate emissions and railways have the capacity to handle these new conditions : the climate is right for rail !

UIC at COP14

UIC, CER and UITP were present at the UN Climate Change conference held in Poznań, Poland, from the December 1 to December 12, 2008. For COP 14, in addition to a joint exhibition UIC, CER, UITP organized an informal discussion forum on transport in cooperation with two transport research institutions, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) from UK and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) from Germany.

There was a very well visited event entitled “A low carbon transport under a different regime” which besided the organisers involved a guest panel with participants from the World Bank and the European Commission. During this event, a discussion was held on what could be done in order to reduce the CO2 production from the transport sector. Magrethe Sagevik, Sustainable Development Senior Adviser of UIC sent a clear message that the railways are part of the solution and that more importance should be placed on the advantages of rail and public transport in the development of sustainable transport systems.

She also presented the many ongoing activities in the sector on energy efficiency, emissions reduction etc. Matthew Ledbury, Environment Adviser of CER pointed out that the including the aviation sector in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) is only a first step.

If the transport sector is to reduce its emissions, other measures to address the climatic impacts of all modes of transport will be needed such as internalizing the external cost. The presentation from Heather Allen, Senior Manager Sustainable Development, UITP, stressed that behaviour change can help to fill the gap in the short and medium term before technological solutions for green transport is there.

The outcomes

The rail and public transport organisations promoted the importance of transport in the climate change combat discussions and the needed contribution from rail and public transport in future sustainable transport systems with the “Keep Kyoto on Track”-campaign including official UNFCCC side events since COP 6. This gave us the opportunity to build up a network among transport climate change experts and the organisations.