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The Federal Railroad Administration last week announced its Climate Challenge, which encourages railroads, operators and equipment manufacturers to join the FRA's commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Achieving that target will contribute to the FRA's goals of building a safe, efficient and modern transportation system that helps avert the worst effects of climate change, FRA officials said in a press release.
"FRA commits to supporting innovation in the rail industry to keep rail one of the most sustainable transportation choices," said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. "Together, we will expand access to passenger and freight rail, ensure that they are powered by environmentally-friendly technologies and eliminate emissions across the rail supply chain."
Freight rail is up to 75% more efficient than truck transportation, while passenger rail is up to 46% more efficient than driving and 34% more efficient than flying. FRA's Climate Challenge builds on the strengths of rail transportation by encouraging the industry to decarbonize its operations, which will ensure that rail continues to be a model of sustainability and resiliency well into the future, FRA officials said.
The FRA’s message coincided with Earth Day, with several railroads also reporting on initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of climate change. Among those issuing statements on their sustainability efforts were Amtrak, Brightline, Pioneer Lines and Watco.
Meanwhile, CSX announced its first annual Customer Environmental Excellence Awards, which honored the following six customers for their contributions to reducing carbon emissions through truck-to-rail conversions: Active Minerals International LLC, Amazon Logistics LLC, Cemex Inc., Georgia Pacific LLC, Molson Coors Beverage Co. and Walmart Transportation LLC.