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Environment database 2011: the railways increase their climate lead

Press release 02.12.2011
Topic: Environment

Environment database 2011: the railways increased their climate lead

Considerable CO2 savings by the railways

Pro-Rail Alliance

Development of CO2 emissions per tonne-kilometre: The railways have seen the fastest development.

Berlin. Railway transport has recorded an impressive climate performance over the previous 10 years. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, CO2 emissions per train passenger and kilometre in Germany sank by 25 percent. Rail freight transport also saw a reduction of 25 percent during the same period. These results were produced using the latest figures recorded in the database "Environment & Transport", which is regularly updated by the Heidelberg-based IFEU Institute using official data from the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The updates are made on behalf of the German Pro-Rail Alliance, the German Railway Industry Association (VDB) and the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV).

"Whereas the UN climate conference in Durban is being dominated by dramatic appeals and the search for ways to avoid a climate catastrophe, railway transport can present a real success story," said Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance on Friday in Berlin. "With a 25 percent CO2 reduction for passenger and freight transport, the railways have not only improved, they have also improved at a faster rate than other modes of transport," said Flege with reference to the database. For politicians, "these are even more good reasons to decisively invest in the environmentally friendly railways."

"The advances on climate protection made by the railways are considerable," said Ronald Pörner, general managing director of the VDB. "Per passenger and kilometre there is a year on year reduction of around 2.5 percent in CO2, which damages the climate." This makes rail transport's own vision of having CO2-free operations by 2050 therefore a realist target. "The decisive leverage in the future lies in increasing the amount of regenerative energy for the railways, in the continuing electrification of rail lines, and in the increased use of modern vehicles and traction concepts," said Pörner. After all, the railways' positive environmental balance over the past 10 years is due in part to innovative technologies and new rolling stock.

VDV general managing director Oliver Wolff emphasised that, compared with the previous year, rail freight transport was able to further increase its CO2 lead over road transport: "In a comparison of transport modes and climate impact, the railways are better than HGVs by a factor of five." The lead over the car also increased. "For passenger transport, trains lead cars by a factor of 2.5," said Wolff. "The results of the environmental database show that the widespread preconception that HGVs and cars are catching up on the railways' climate lead is wrong," said Wolff.

The database "Environment & Transport", which was set up by the three rail sector organisations, provides a user-friendly presentation of the so-called TREMOD data that the Heidelberg-based institute IFEU regularly collects on behalf of the German Environment Agency in Dessau. With the "Environment & Transport" database, the Pro-Rail Alliance, VDB and VDV can provide fast and comprehensive information on the specific emissions and consumption values of the transport modes road, rail, waterway and aviation. It contains 8,800 data records for freight transport and passenger transport in Germany and covers a period from 1995 to 2010.

Charts providing an overview of the latest environmental comparison and an overview of the development of environmental performance between 2000 and 2010 can be downloaded below.


Additional information


Dr. Barbara Mauersberg
Press Officer

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