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Rail Travel Promoted as an Effective Way to Cut CO2 Emissions

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 Posted: 12:10 AM JST

One person traveling one kilometer by rail generates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are only one-sixth of emissions generated traveling by air and one-tenth of emissions generated traveling by car; thus, a shift to rail travel is an effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. These figures were in a report released in August 2006 by the Kiko (Climate) Network, a Japanese non-governmental organization engaged in anti-global warming initiatives.

In Japan, CO2 emissions from the passenger transport sector in fiscal 2004 jumped by 42.5 percent from fiscal 1990, due primarily to the increased use of cars and airplanes. Emissions from these modes of transport were both up more than 50 percent.

According to this report, a 10 percent shift from car or airplane travel to railway travel (e.g. Shinkansen bullet trains), would result in a cut in CO2 emissions by 12.32 million tons, or 7.7 percent of total emissions from the passenger transport sector.

Japan is required under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by six percent from 1990 levels by 2012, but its fiscal 2004 emissions were 8 percent higher than the base year. The Kiko Network's report suggests that the government needs effective measures to promote rail transport, such as introduction of a carbon tax and better public awareness programs.

First published in December 2006 by Japan for Sustainability (JFS). Many thanks to JFS for their kind permission to reprint the article at iKjeld.com.

Keywords: national_news

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