Thursday 23 May 2024

UIC participation in discussions at the ITF Forum in Leipzig

Share this article

Invited to speak at the Minister’s Transport and Climate Change Roundtable at the ITF Summit in Leipzig, Francois Davenne, UIC Director General, addressed the railway sector’s immediate response to the COP objectives.

The session focused on leaving behind fossil fuels and accelerating towards an energy efficient future by reducing emissions.

The UIC-introduced idea regarding a paradigm shift away from a system centred on private vehicles is gaining ground. The Korean Vice Minister of Transport, Mr. Won-Kug Baek, stated that the share of public transport should rise from today’s 33% to 50% by 2030, with the Ministers of Transport of Columbia, Mr. William Camargo and Morocco, Mr. Mohammed Abdeljalil, also stressing that funding is lacking for developing public transport infrastructure, as well as underpinning the importance of developing a consensus for more public transport and active mobility.

For a just transition, Mr Davenne highlighted that the largest inequalities exist in low and middle income countries, as they are the most rapidly urbanising while also having a widespread public transport deficit. Here, the crux of the problem is often to do with funding.
With rail comprising approximately 8% of transport and only 2% of emissions, Mr Davenne highlighted how rail technology not only already exists but is in a mature state of development, and can therefore further reduce emissions. For example, if all rail systems were in line with European standards, rail would represent less than 0.5% of emissions. In parallel, it is predicted that rail’s energy consumption will decrease, reaffirming its role as an environmentally sustainable transport solution.

The Moroccan Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mr. Mohammed Abdeljalil, then emphasised that developing countries are not the primary emitters, their problem lies not in combatting emissions but in a need for mobility and that this is the question that should be addressed.

For Mr Davenne, another part of the solution is for other modes of transport to have less of a modal share. For example, by having:

  • Less trucks and more trains on long distance trips, thereby lowering road maintenance requirements due to a drastic reduction in tonnage. This is due to the fact that the damage inflicted on the road surface by a vehicle is to the power of 4 of its weight.
  • Better connections between rail services and public transport, together with an approach to fares and an urban planning system that allows more frequent and enjoyable active mobility.

This future is not only necessary for achieving targets to reduce carbon emissions, but also desirable, as every qualitative study has demonstrated that the quality of life in cities is linked to public transport availability and safe active mobility.

Last year, UIC, in collaboration with ALSTOM, the University of Birmingham, and Roland Berger, published a study about the finance gap in rail investment for low and lower-middle-income countries. The research found that if LICs and LMICs increased their rail market shares from the current 2% to up to 8% (in line with the current global average) a total of 1.8Gt of carbon emissions would be avoided by 2050. This would require the rail share of passenger or tonne-kilometres to quadruple, with the biggest hurdle to this being funding. Closing this rail infrastructure gap would require an annual rail investment in LICs and LMICs of USD 80 billion per year through to 2050. Currently, the long-term investment needed for infrastructure is not attractive to private investors, meaning that progress is slow and opportunities are being missed.

Unfortunately, all other things remaining equal, this issue also needs to be solved for higher income countries. Working on methodologies for improving access to climate finance alongside traditional loans would significantly accelerate decarbonisation and UIC continues to be committed to helping deliver the relevant tools.

For further information, please contact us here:

2 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5