Posts Tagged ‘greenhouse gases’

Transpo Part of Emissions Reduction Plan

January 14, 2023

The transportation sector is part of a Biden administration plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.

The U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization outlines the emission reduction strategy. It was developed by the U.S. departments of Energy, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Biden administration is seeking to create a “100 percent clean electrical grid” by 2035, USDOT said in a news release.

The transportation sector blueprint builds upon components of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Amtrak Seeks Net Zero Emissions by 2045

September 23, 2022

Amtrak said this week it will seek to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The passenger carrier said key components of this plan include reducing the amount of diesel fuel it consumes in its locomotives and making more use of such technologies as fuel cells and hydrogen batteries. 

By 2030 Amtrak said it plans to use only 100 percent carbon-free electricity that was not created through the use of coal and similar fuels.

The Amtrak pledge is similar to those made by various other railroads to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

NS Seeks to Cut Greenhouse Gases 42%

July 29, 2021

Norfolk Southern said it has set a goal of reducing green house gas emissions by 42 percent by 2034.

NS said the figure applies to scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions based on baseline figures from 2019.

Locomotive fuel accounts for more than 90 percent of the railroad’s carbon emissions.

It said it increased fuel efficiency by 9.4 percent between 2016 and 2020, avoiding approximately 1.3 million metric tons of emissions.

At the same time it retired more than 700 locomotives last year that were older and less fuel efficient.

Other steps taken include rebuilding locomotives into lower-emission “Eco” models; a DC-to-AC program creating more efficient locomotives; equipping locomotives with energy-management technology; and replacing diesel-powered cranes at intermodal facilities

AAR Seeks ‘Market Based’ Environmental Improvement

March 2, 2021

The Association of American Railroads issued a white paper on Monday that proposes what it termed “economically ground, market-based solutions” that can move the nation toward lower-or-zero-carbon choices.

Not surprisingly, AAR said that railroads can lead the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and battling climate change.

The report said railroads account for roughly 40 percent of U.S. long-distance freight volume, more than any other transportation mode, while also accounting for 2.1 percent of transportation-related emissions, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.

In a news release, AAR said that if 10 percent of the freight shipped today by the largest trucks was instead moved by rail that greenhouse emissions would fall more than 17 million tons annually, which the report said would be the same as removing 3.35 million cars from roads.

The report, which was addressed to transportation policymakers is in part an effort to curry favor with the Biden administration, which has identified climate change as one of its key policy interest areas.

AAR is calling for policymakers to:

• Enact a reasonable, market-based emissions-reductions strategy to empower competition.
• Restore the Highway Trust Fund to a user-pays system with a short-term fuel tax increase followed by a structured transition to a vehicle-miles-traveled fee in the longer term.
• Impose an emissions surcharge based on vehicle fuel efficiency to provide dedicated funding for environmentally efficiency passenger rail where appropriate.

“Policymakers, businesses and individuals must unite and act swiftly on smart, lasting solutions to fuel economic recovery and protect our environment,” said AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies in a statement.

“Well-designed, economically sound policies can effectively drive the economy toward lower overall emissions, specifically in the transportation sector. Railroads stand ready to be a part of the solution.”

Technology Gaps May Drive Mergers, CN Head Says

February 21, 2021

Canadian National CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest predicted last week that technology and carbon footprint gaps between Class I railroads could be a force leading to the merger of two of North America’s big rail networks.

J..J. Ruest

Speaking to the Citi 2021 Global Industrial Virtual Conference, Ruest acknowledged that any such merger would have to resolve issues of competition through reciprocal switching or some other mechanism to provide shippers with access to two railroads.

Although reciprocal switching arrangement exist in some instances in Canada, U.S. Class 1 railroads have opposed efforts by shippers to get reciprocal switching agreements.

Ruest called for a new competitive model that would allow a merger to receive regulatory approval even as it affects a railroad’s pricing power.
He called that the cost of gaining efficiencies and a better service network of a merger.

Falling behind on fuel efficiency and emission reductions could be the factors that force some railroads to seek a merger partner, Ruest said.

Individual railroads that fail to make much technology progress within the next five years would be prime candidates for a merger.

CN has sought to lead the industry in fuel efficiency by exploring alternatives to the diesel-electric locomotive.

The Montreal-based carrier is looking at or testing hydrogen fuel cells and electrification as ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“People should not dismiss the importance of moving ahead with technology before it’s too late,” Ruest said.

He said environmental, social, and governance, also known as ESG criteria, will become increasingly important to investors and some railroad shippers as ways to combat climate change.

“And people should not dismiss that eventually the pressure on ESG will really catch the rail industry and the fact that we consume so much diesel. It will happen.”

CN Eyes Alternatives to Diesel-Electric Locomotive Power

December 18, 2020

Pressure from investors is prompting Canadian National and Canadian Pacific to seek alternatives to diesel-electric locomotives.

The investors are lobbying the two Class 1 railroads to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,  which is leading them to explore such technologies as electrification and hydrogen fuel cells to power locomotives.

Chantale Després, CN’s director of sustainability, said at a recent investor’s conference that it is not yet clear which technology the railroad will adopt.

In the short term he indicated the carrier will explore launching one or more pilot programs to test the different technologies.

Previously, CN explored the use of liquified natural gas as a motive power source.

Any move away from the use of diesel-electric locomotives is likely to be several years away.

In the interim, CN and CP are seeking to reduce emissions through such means as Trip Optimizer technology and better matching horsepower to tonnage.

CN also said it is increasing its use of renewable blends in its diesel fuel and has purchased Tier 4 ES44AC locomotives from Wabtec.

NS Releases Corporate Responsibility Report

September 26, 2020

Norfolk Southern released a report this week providing an overview of its efforts last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take other sustainability measures.

The corporate responsibility report said shippers using NS helped avoid almost 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions last year by choosing rail for their transportation needs instead of highway shipping.

In a news release NS said that equals a savings of about 1.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel.
Among the actions taken by NS in the past year the report cited:

•Investing $2 billion in its rail network to promote safe and efficient operations, modernize technology and support economic growth activities.

• Using the Waze mobile navigation app, to provide alerts to motorists approaching grade crossings.

• Transforming a stretch of eroded shoreline on the Elizabeth River at the Lamberts Point terminal into a green oasis for oysters and wildlife.

• Joining the Operation Clean Sweep Pledge, which seeks to eliminate plastic pollution with a goal of zero loss of plastic resin into the environment.

The report also includes NS’s 2020 filing with CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.

CSX Touts Reaching Emission Reduction Goals

March 21, 2020

CSX said this week it is the first North American railroad to have its new greenhouse gas emissions intensity goals set and approved by the Science Based Target Initiative.

In a news release, CSX said it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 37.3 percent between 2014 and 2030.

The carrier said it expects future transformational technology to facilitate this next level of reductions and is extensively investing in technologies and operational practices that drive maximum achievable efficiencies.

In 2018, CSX reduced emissions intensity by 6 percent to 8 percent, achieving an 8.1 percent emissions intensity reduction and reaching the goal set in 2012 two years ahead of schedule.

CSX said in the news release that it is the only U.S. Class I to have crossed the threshold of operating below one gallon of fuel-per-thousand gross ton miles.

The SBTi was described in the news release as independently reviewing corporate emission reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is necessary to meet the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.