Friday 8 July 2022

UIC’s energy and emissions data collection is going worldwide!

The Environment Strategy Reporting System (ESRS) is now collecting global railway data

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As the global community strives to transform economies and deliver the Paris Climate goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the global railway sector is pulling its weight and working to always improve its energy efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions. A clear example of the collective efforts within the sector is that 28 European UIC members have committed to reducing CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometre and per tonne-kilometre by 50% by 2030 and to fully decarbonise by 2050, as proposed in UIC’s 2019 Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge, and are well on track to meet this target. Improving energy efficiency is the most important aspect of the rail sector’s strategies to reduce CO2 emissions, and offers significant business benefits as well as reducing costs, which is especially important in the context of hiking energy prices and inflation.

In view of the importance of understanding the emissions coming from the transport sector and the performance of the railway sector, every year, UIC collects a set of energy consumption and emissions related indicators via the Environment Strategy Reporting System (ESRS) and publishes information on progress against the targets set by international organisations and coalitions.

This tool supports members by being both an outlook – helping companies to keep track of environmental goals – and a benchmark – helping them compare their performance against peers. The dataset was also used as a basis statistical set in the series of Railway Handbooks, “The Future of Rail” report and since then each year for the Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP) page, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA), which provides consistent information to policy and decision makers, promoting the role of rail as a sustainable mobility solution.

This is the first year of global data collection: companies from around the world are invited to report their environmental data. This will provide a more accurate and updated landscape of the environmental performance of railways and demonstrate this sector’s role and continued advances in climate action. New participants are invited to provide historical data since 2005 (with at least 2005 as a reference, up to 2021) to be featured on the monitoring report. UIC is also mindful of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on operational efficiency and is diligent in portraying the figures in the context of the extraordinary conditions, while still providing essential services to support social needs during the crisis.

This database also fed the “Ecopassenger” and “EcoTransit” online calculators, which allow users to compare the energy consumption, CO2 and exhaust atmospheric emissions of planes, cars and trains for passenger and freight transport. Using these, together with the Rail Sustainability Index (the new online reporting tool for the railway sector’s contribution to the achievement of SDGs), UIC continues to work with its members to help track and monitor their progress on delivering the climate ambition of railway companies.

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