It’s the environmental moment of truth for shippers

Europe in green hill

As the COP26 UN climate change conference takes place in Glasgow, UK, the urgency for a green transport transition is more urgent than ever. Shifting to rail freight transport is key for succeeding in environmental goals. “Anyone who takes the appeals from the climate conference seriously should now start shifting as many freight movements as possible to rail,” says the shift2030 initiative.

“It is the moment of truth for shippers,” adds Sebastian Ruckes, chairman of shift2030. “If shippers want to make a difference, it is time to act now, and there are not many alternatives than moving their cargo by rail,” he emphasises.

We are currently at the first week of the COP26 conference, and the situation following the world leaders summit of the first two conference days is ominous. CNN reports that there is a “huge gap between pledges and action” so far and that the “failure of global economies to put an end date on the use of coal” is alarming. Moreover, the fact that not all countries have set the same goals (net-zero emissions by 2050) hampers the realisation of green goals.

Time for action

It is time to quickly implement measures that will reduce CO2 emissions drastically. The transport sector is at the forefront of the climate battle, and “as road freight transport counts for a significant share in CO2 emissions unless there are significant changes, improvements are not to be expected soon,” says Rucke.

On Wednesday 20 November, the conference will dedicate a whole day discussing transport issues. The session is titled Driving the global transition to zero-emission transport, and hopefully, rail freight and rail transport, in general, will have a central role in the programme. will follow all the developments closely.

In the meantime, the rail freight sector was represented on the climate train to COP26 by UIRR. Akos Ersek gave a presentation that highlighted the potential of zero-carbon combined transport to delegates and the press.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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