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Rail News: Sustainability

Report: Canadian railroads on track to meet emissions reduction goals

The report summarizes railroads' progress in 2015 toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Photo – RAC's 2015 Locomotive Emissions Monitoring Program report

Canadian railroads remain on track to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets set by the rail industry and the federal government, according to the latest Locomotive Emissions Monitoring (LEM) Program report.

Released by the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) this week, the report summarizes the railroads' progress in 2015 toward reducing GHGs and criteria air contaminants from locomotives operating in Canada. The document also highlights initiatives that the rail industry has taken to reach its emissions reduction goals.

"The main takeaway from this report is that railway-generated GHG emissions have not increased significantly relative to traffic growth," said RAC Acting President Gerald Gauthier in a press release. "By investing in modern locomotives and innovative technologies that improve fuel efficiency, our railways are committed to doing their part in the fight against climate change."

Since 1990, Canada's freight railroads have decreased their GHG emissions intensity — the rail sector's carbon footprint relative to its traffic — by 41.7 percent. That reduction occurred as traffic increased by 76.8 percent over the same period.

Since 2010, Canadian Class Is have reduced their GHG emissions intensity every year and have exceeded their reduction target in three consecutive years, RAC officials said.

The latest LEM report for 2015 was completed in accordance with terms of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between RAC and Transport Canada. The terms of the MOU originally ran from 2011 to 2015, but the pact was extended to include all operations until the end of 2017, according to the report.

The new report is the fifth one prepared under that agreement. Last year, RAC released the fourth report, which documented GHG emissions and criteria air contaminants from locomotives operating in Canada between 2013 and 2014.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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