3rd edition of the “Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions” officially launched in New York in the context of the UN Climate Summit

UIC officially launched on 22 September in New York the new edition of the UIC-IEA Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions at the High-Level Event “On Track to Clean & Green Transport” organised in the framework of the UN Climate Summit.

2014 marks the third year of collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to produce the Handbook on Energy Consumption and CO2 emissions of the world railway sector. After the success of the 2012 and 2013 editions, UIC and IEA have been increasingly encouraged to pursue this joint effort in close cooperation.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, who presented the UIC-IEA Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions during several meetings in New York in the context of the UN Climate Summit, said:

“Today I am proud to launch the 3rd edition of the Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions – published jointly by the International Railway Association, UIC, and the International Energy Agency. This is the 3rd consecutive year that we have worked collaboratively on this project.

The book contains data and analysis of the rail sector’s performance. It literally charts the rail sector renaissance and clearly illustrates the unrivalled efficiency of the rail system. This data and analysis is independently verified by the IEA. I must thank the IEA for their fruitful collaboration.

This publication is the product of our philosophy – a statement of our belief in transparency, evidence based decision making and the importance of building partnerships. It represents hard work and commitment by UIC and by the IEA – but most importantly by our member companies who provide the data, which enables the analysis fundamental to proper decision making process.

I am pleased to state that the previous edition was recognised as a reference document by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. And we trust that this honour will also be bestowed on the new 3rd edition.”

The positive feedback received from the private sector, governments and international organisations has made it clear that there is a real need for valuable information on energy use and related CO2 emissions for rail and the transport sector in general.
These data provide an answer to understanding environmental issues and propose solutions for the decarbonisation strategies of the transport sector.

The global demand for transport is expected to double by 2050. The ability to meet this growing demand in a sustainable way is of fundamental importance in this historical moment.

The special focus on infrastructure in this handbook (and related KPIs) delivers a clear message to the audience: to meet this growing demand by increasing investments on rail will produce important improvements both in transport efficiency and environmental impact.

Some key facts:

  • Since 1975 paved road lane kilometres doubled while global rail track length decreased by nearly 10%. At the same time, rail infrastructure carries 10 times more transport units per km than road, using roughly 11 times less energy per transported unit.
  • Every dollar invested in rail infrastructure results in between 3 and 10 times less CO2 emission generated compared to each dollar spent on road, while carrying 3.5 times more TU than road.
  • Worldwide, only 0.6% of the total energy consumed in 2011 and 1% of global CO2 emissions comes from rail, compared to 20% of energy and 16.5% of emissions from road transport.
  • The effort of the railway sector to improve its environmental impact is already acknowledged: energy consumption and CO2 emissions have both been halved since 1990 levels.

This is just some of the key information provided in the Handbook that emphasises the decisive role of the rail sector in meeting global climate and economic challenges.
Again, this publication has only been possible thanks to the support of UIC members and their annual contributions to UIC Statistics. The UIC Sustainable Development Unit would like to thank UIC members and hopes that this new edition can provide valuable information with sound science.

The UIC-IEA Railway Handbook on Energy Consumption & CO2 Emissions is available here:


For further information please contact Nick Craven: craven at uic.org or Veronica Aneris: aneris at uic.org

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