COP24: the takeaways for Europe
On 29 January, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and Dutch Railways NS hosted a roundtable discussing “COP24: the takeaways for Europe – How rail can help deliver on urgent climate goals”. This event gave attendees a unique opportunity to gain deeper understanding of the climate policy and contribution of rail towards delivering on climate targets set by the Paris Agreement.
Attendees learned about the European Commission’s strategic vision for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 which was followed by the successful conclusion of COP24 in Katowice, where a clear rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted.
Transport, which heavily relies on liquid fossil fuels, is the main obstacle in delivering the EU’s climate objectives. A high-level panel discussed the decarbonisation of the transport sector in Brussels and how this could help meet the Paris Agreement goals.
The Commission’s 2050 strategic vision acknowledges rail as an important mode for low-emission mobility. The rail sector is indeed the only mode reducing its emissions despite increasing freight and passenger traffic. As recently agreed by environment and transport ministers under the Graz Declaration, railways as a backbone of sustainable mobility, both for urban/sub-urban and medium/long-distance transport, should be promoted and effectively interconnected with other low-carbon modes.
Roger van Boxtel, CEO, Dutch Railways (NS) said: “The mobility sector is part of the climate problem, and rail is part of the solution.”
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The rail sector is in line with the Paris climate goals and thanks to energy-efficient, zero-carbon railways there can be more transport activity without more emissions.”