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Global Climate Action  

At the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, it was agreed that mobilizing stronger and more ambitious climate action by all Parties and non-Party stakeholders is urgently required if the goals of the Paris Agreement are to be achieved.

In decision 1/CP.21, the commitments from all actors are recognized, including those launched through the Lima–Paris Action Agenda, as well as the urgent need to scale up the global response to climate change and support greater ambition from governments.

At COP 22 in Marrakech, a High-Level Event on Accelerating Climate Action was held to highlight outcomes from the Action Events throughout the conference and culminated with the launching of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action; a new framework to catalyse and support climate action.

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Emissions reduction


Low-Carbon Sustainable Rail Transport Challenge

Collectively reduce average global emissions from train operations by 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050 based on 1990 levels

Lead Organisations

Union Internacional de Chemin de fer (UIC)


This challenge sets out ambitious but achievable targets for improvement of rail sector energy efficiency, reductions in GHG emissions and a more sustainable balance between transport modes.
By COP22 we will have started an additional work stream on climate change adaptation.

Roadmap and work plan

Implementation of the Challenge will result in 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from train operations by 2030, and 75% reduction by 2050, 50% reduction in energy consumption from train operations by 2030, and 60% reduction by 2050, 50% increase in rail’s share of passenger transportation by 2030 and doubling by 2050 (2010 baseline), rail freight activity equal to that of road freight by 2030, and exceeding road freight volumes by 50% by 2050.
Energy efficiency road map in development, final version to be published following completion of stakeholder consultation.
Annual program of expert network meetings every 3 months supported by a global conference every 2 years.


After COP21 77 CEOs representing the majority of the worlds rail activity have signed the UIC Climate Responsibility Pledge detailing a commitment to 4 actions; 1. to reduce specific energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and through this contribute to the “UIC Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge” and its global 2030/2050 targets, 2. Stimulate modal shift to rail in national and international markets, 3. actively communicate climate friendly initiatives, 4. report data on specific energy consumption and CO2 emissions to UIC on a regular basis.

Quantitative Impact


Improvement of rail energy and CO2 intensity are currently in line with the 2030 and 2050 targets. The latest audited data (2013) indicates that specific energy consumption has reduced by 37% since 1990, and specific CO2 emissions have reduced by 30% in the same period.


Nick Craven, Union Internacional de Chemin de fer,16 rue Jean Rey, 75015 Paris, France

+33 (0) 1 44 49 20 20

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Administration Générale des Chemins de fer Syriens (CFS)

Administrator de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF)

Afghanistan Railway Authority (AfRA)

Agence Nationale d’Études et de Suivi de la Réalisation des Investissements Ferroviaires (ANESRIF)

Agencia Nacional de Transportes Terrestres (ANTT)

Ahaus Alstätter Eisenbahn (AAE)

Aktsiaselts Eesti Raudtee (EVR)

Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

Autoritatea Feroviara Romana (AFER)

California High Speed Authority (CHSRA)

Federal Railroad Administration (US DOT/FRA)

Finnish Transport Agency (FTA)

Iraqi Republic Railways Establishment (IRR)


Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA)

Makedonski Zeleznici Transport AD Skopje (MZ-T)

National Rail Administration (NRA)

National Transport Authority Hungary (NKH)

National Transport Authority of UAE (UAE NTA)

Public Transport Victoria (PTV)


Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)

Vasúti Pályakapacitás-elosztó Kft (VPE)