Heading to Climate Conference COP23 – UIC took the “Train to Bonn”

A UIC delegation was invited to board the “Train to Bonn” dedicated train, coordinated by Deutsch Bahn on 4 November 2017. UIC was represented by a small delegation including its Director General, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux.

The event welcomed on board politicians such as Dr Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety as well as DB employees, non-profit organisations and representatives of the private sector as well as international organisations like UIC. The “Train to Bonn” was organised with different coaches with a specific conference area in the centre. Throughout the day speakers from different countries took the floor in front of an active audience.

Dr Richard Lutz, CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG, presented DB commitments to fight climate change, including: fifty percent less CO2 emitted by 2030 and long-distance transport to use 100% renewable power starting in 2018. “There is one mother earth, take action now”, he said.

Apart from transport commitments, the train was also the opportunity to raise awareness about oceans – the important theme this year under the Fiji presidency of COP23, in the presence on board of Tafue Lusama, President of Red Cross society of Tuvalu and Frances Namoumou, from the Pacific Church Council. Representatives of the Fiji islands and spokespersons from the Pacific islands presented their views on the urgency of actions to fight climate change and prevent the rise of sea levels.

Topics from effects of climate change to resilience, mitigation and adaptation were debated, as well as corporate and public partnerships, and insurance aspects and actions on the ground, in the face of climate change in developed and developing countries.

UIC took the opportunity during this trip to emphasise UIC’s global perspective on the importance of railways in the fight against climate change. UIC acknowledged the announcement as well regarding DB setting new ambitious climate protection targets ahead of COP23. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, General Director of UIC said about this news: “that those targets are a perfect fit and compliment the UIC targets.” UIC declared major collaborations in 2017, one with the International Energy Agency with the annual publication of the Railway Handbook and the collaboration with the International Railway Journal for a Global Register of Modal Shift projects. After stressing the importance of investment in rail, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux reminded the audience of the successful work of UIC in the discussion around mitigation and especially adaptation with dedicated workshops in London, Beijing and Agadir in 2017.

UIC Director General concluded his speech by wishing a successful two weeks to all negotiators for this COP23 “where the interests of all the people of the world come together”.

UIC at COP23

The conference of parties will end on 16 November in Bonn, Germany. As in previous editions, UIC actively participated as an accredited organisation by the United Nations. UIC also signed a partnership agreement with UNFCCC for COP23 and this document was signed by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux in person along with Alain Flausch, Secretary General of UITP during COP23.

On 9 November, UIC participated in the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation side event the Bonn zone. Nicholas Craven, Head of the Sustainable Unit contributed to the high-level panel on measuring adaptation. On 10 November, UIC host a side event with Eurelectric (Union of the Electricity Industry) and UITP (International Union of Public Transport) in the Bonn Zone. Bright Future: The Value of Electricity for a Decarbonised Economy and Transport Sector. The event brought together representatives from electricity and sustainable transport sectors, industry, investors and civil society, to engage on value of electrification for sustainable global development. Speakers presented strategic low-carbon electricity projects showing potential of electrification in sustainable transport.

UIC actively contributed to the Transport Thematic Day on 11 November in the Bonn Zone. Global Climate Action (GCA) Transport Thematic Day took stock of recent developments and through a combination of plenary and breakout sessions on specific topics to reach at recommendations for countries, and other stakeholders that can help and support the transport sector in the development of effective actions on transport and climate change. UIC coordinated the sessions on sustainable freight and adaptation of infrastructure. The outcome for the freight session were as follows:

  • Freight emissions are projected to overtake passenger emissions, requiring urgent attention
  • Cooperation and partnerships are vital to support multimodal solutions particularly for international freight/shipping/logistics
  • Modal shift is an important part of the solution, e.g. to increase inter alia rail and cycling
  • We need strong political frameworks to set the right incentives and strong standards and we need companies to implement them and governments to back them, e.g. for fuel efficiency standards
  • We need full and transparent disclosure of carbon emissions form the whole logistics chain

For the adaptation session the outcome was as follows:

  • The transport & climate change policy and funding need better balance between adaptation and mitigation
  • There is an emerging transport adaptation knowledge base, with ports & inland waterways, road and rail taking the lead, this can help governments to deliver their NDCs and raise ambition
  • We need to better quantify the risks and benefits relating to adaptation, (concerning social, environmental and economic aspects) in order to enable better decision making
  • Adaptation must be mainstreamed into every-day infrastructure management and maintenance – it is not a special project
  • International co-operation, e.g. the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation, has an important role to play in supporting capacity building
  • Governments have an important role to play in supporting co-ordination between transport modes & other stakeholders (e.g. power supply, etc.) to ensure coherence & whole-system thinking, this could be included in future revisions of NDCs

UIC would like to thank all participants and speakers as well as the International Transport Forum (ITF), the International Union of Public Transport (UITP) and the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) for the fruitful collaboration in preparation for COP23.

To provide stronger political leadership necessary to spearhead the transformation of transport a new Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA) was established on 11 November. This new multi-stakeholder alliance will help accelerate the decarbonisation of transport by coordinating action and outreach between leading countries, cities and companies in their peer group communities in particular in the UNFCCC process.

On 13 November, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC participated in the High-Level Event Global Climate Action Agenda in the session: Creating Green and Inclusive Transport for Liveable and Resilient Cities. The event focused on sustainable transport development opportunities as envisaged by the sustainable development goal 11.2. The different sessions highlighted efforts to mainstream activities into a one action agenda. Transport plays a significant role in shaping cities and as the urgency to develop livable and resilient cities grows, it is increasingly important to implement green and inclusive transport measures. “We all have to work together on sustainable, connected, integrated transport. Accessibility of stations is key for profitability of public transport” said Jean-Piere Loubinoux, Director General of UIC.

On the evening of the 13th, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux participated in the PPMC Talk show at the DHL Post Tower along with Pierpaolo Cazzola, Senior Energy and Transport Analyst, IEA and Lucila Capelli, Advisor, Ministry of Transport, Argentina. The Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) is organising daily talk shows about transport and climate change during the Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn. The talk shows are live-streamed on SLoCaT’s Facebook page from November 7 to 16 at 18:15 CET. The Talk Shows on Transport and Climate Change give updates on relevant negotiations at COP23 and discuss specific topics in detail with several experts. The sessions are moderated by Tracy Raczek.

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