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Climate protection needs more ambition

The EU Commission wants to secure more environmental protection with new European climate targets. The plan is to reduce greenhouse gases by 45 percent compared to 1990 by the year 2030. The reduction targeted so far was 40 percent. The target: more efforts against global warming. From the point of view of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB) e.V. and the Pro-Rail Alliance, this is the right step. But goals must now be followed by action.

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Berlin – The EU Commission wants to tackle climate protection more consistently with clear goals. Climate protection needs ambition. Therefore, the Commission's approach is the right one. But new goals and limits alone are not enough.  Implementation is crucial – both nationally and internationally. Climate-friendly mobility can and must play a central role here," says Dr. Ben Möbius, Chief Executive Officer of the VDB.

In order to achieve the climate protection aims of the Paris Agreement, mobility must become much more climate-friendly. Also in Germany. But unlike other major sectors, the transport sector in our country has even increased its absolute greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2016. Today, 90 percent of mobility is still based on mineral oil. The bottom line, measured in absolute emissions, is that transport hardly contributes to climate protection.  Things cannot remain this way. Without a turnaround in transport – i.e. more rail traffic, more intermodality – the climate targets will quickly come to nothing. "More ambitious EU environmental targets will increase the pressure on transport policy: Here, Germany has not been a pioneer in the expansion of sustainable mobility so far," says Dirk Flege, Managing Director of the Allianz pro Schiene (Pro-Rail Alliance).

Rail has a clear climate advantage over other modes of transport. Rail transport already generates over 90 percent of its performance in electrical operation. Innovations such as alternative drives or automation of operation can increase energy efficiency and drastically reduce CO2 emissions. Automated subways, for example, reduce energy consumption by 30 percent. The current environmental comparison of the Pro-Rail Alliance shows that railways are ahead of airplanes, cars and trucks in all important categories.

Rail transport – with a political tailwind – is the key to more climate protection.

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