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Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

NS unveils science-based target to reduce GHG intensity


Norfolk Southern Corp. yesterday announced its science-based target to achieve a 42% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) intensity by 2034 from a 2019 base year.

The commitment is another step in the company’s ongoing journey to build a more sustainable future, NS officials said in a press release.

The Class I’s emissions reduction target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Validation from the SBTi confirms that the company’s target is consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, NS officials said.

"Achieving our target will require continued investments in our locomotive fleet along with supplier engagement," said Josh Raglin, chief sustainability officer. "Our implementation of innovative technologies, sustainable operating practices and locomotive modernizations are part of our efforts to build a more sustainable transportation network."

Locomotive fuel accounts for more than 90% of the railroad’s carbon emissions. NS set a fuel-efficiency goal as part of its 2015 strategic plan, targeting an 8.6% improvement by 2020. The company exceeded that goal with a 9.4% improvement, which resulted in savings of more than 130 million gallons of diesel and avoidance of about 1.3 million metric tons of emissions.

NS' efforts to lower GHG emissions across the company include:
• $500 million of green bonds that recently were issued by the company to fund eligible green projects
• more than 700 locomotives that were retired in 2020, targeting older, less fuel-efficient models 
• a locomotive modernization program that involves converting older DC traction models to more reliable and efficient AC units, providing more pulling power with fewer locomotives

 • a program to equip locomotives with smart energy management technology that automatically matches horsepower to trailing tonnage and track terrain, maximizing fuel efficiency while using minimum horsepower 

 • a public-private partnership program to recycle older locomotives into low-emission “Eco” models to reduce emissions in urban communities on NS' network and enabling them to meet their Clean Air Act obligations 

• an initiative to replace diesel-powered overhead cranes with hybrid and fully electric cranes at intermodal facilities that's projected to reduce emissions at those terminals by approximately 75%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/27/2021