On 5th and 6th November the UIC Asia Environment Conference took place in the International Conference Center of Kyoto, exactly the place where 12 years ago at the United Nations Climate Change Conference the first global CO2 reduction agreement has been agreed upon, known as the “Kyoto Protocol”.
At this honorable place of history the railway message towards the COP 15 climate change conference in Copenhagen has been signed by the participants of the conference and will be transferred by the “Train to Copenhagen” via Vladivostok, Moscow, Berlin and Brussels to Copenhagen.
The message demonstrates the strong commitment of railways to take responsibility in reducing CO2 emissions of the transport sector and points out the important role that railways play as a backbone of any sustainable transport system of the future.
“The UIC is strongly committed to conveying the important role of rail in tackling climate change. The global rail community sends this message to COP15, to encourage to ‘Keep Kyoto on Track’ and ‘Seal the Deal’ in Copenhagen” states the message signed by Mr. Ishida Chairman UIC, Mr. Loubinoux, UIC Director General, Joachim Kettner, Chairman UIC EES Platform, Mr Huh Chairman of UIC Asian Regional Assembly and the other participants of the conference.
The conference opened by Mr. Ishida, JR East, UIC Chairman, showcased how the railway sector is taking the lead in defining ambitious targets and reducing its Green House Gas emissions today and in the future. “This event is an excellent opportunity to promote railways, but only together as a sector we will be successful to bring our messages forward to the decision makers in Copenhagen”, Mr Ishida said.
On the first day of the Conference the perspectives and initiatives of JR Group Railways, Korean Railways as well as Deutsche Bahn and Thalys were presented, followed by an insight view on the latest research developments in Asia, Russia and Europe to further improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions of both passenger and freight rail operations. Furthermore Mr. Fulai Sheng, Senior Economist UNEP presented his view on how to achieve modal shift from air and road to rail: “Encouraging modal shift is not enough, you have to enable it”, he said, addressing fair framework conditions for rail.
The second day was dedicated to best practice exchange and the activities of the UIC Environment, Energy and Sustainability Platform (EES Platform), presented by Joachim Kettner, Chairman UIC EES Platform. Mr. Kettner pointed out the importance of international cooperation and invited the participants for an active role in the work of the EES Platform.
Henning Schwarz, UIC Coordinator Sustainable Development presented the draft Environment & Sustainability strategy 2050, where carbon free rail operation is suggested to be reached in 2050 and the different elements of the ‘Train to Copenhagen’ project.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, closed the Conference addressing the decision makers of the COP 15: “A second generation climate agreement in Copenhagen is of utmost importance for all of us. The next generation climate regime needs to support the development of smart sustainable transport systems, with the rail sector playing a fundamental role!”
The UIC Asia Environment Conference was organised by the UIC Asia Region Members and supported by its counterparts in the UIC Europe Region.