THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE HAS BECOME A GLOBAL PRIORITY. AWARE OF THE NEED TO ACT TOGETHER, THE UN APPROVED THE 2030 AGENDA ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WITH 17 KEY OBJECTIVES. RAILWAY TRANSPORT HAS MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE TO HELP REDUCE GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS.
To combat the adverse effects of climate change, during the COP21 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) held in Paris five years ago, a universal and binding agreement was reached to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 95%.
The planned actions are reflected in the “2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development”, which has 17 objectives ranging from poverty elimination, zero hunger, health and combating climate change, to environmental defence or the design of sustainable communities and cities. These targets were set in 2015 and a 15-year deadline was set to reach them.
A global consensus is that joint action by governments, society and the private sector is necessary to achieve these objectives.
Once again, the railway can act as a lever of change for clean, emission-free transport.
In addition, companies in the sector also work to incorporate the different SDGs into their own business strategy and daily activity in order to fully cooperate with the reduction of emissions and the care for the environment.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
The railway sector has a wide range of advanced solutions for the development of reliable, resilient and quality infrastructures and the promotion of inclusive industrialization. In addition, its industry’s contribution to employment will increase significantly by 2030.
Companies are also aligned with SDG 9 to promote the adoption of clean and environmentally sound industrial technologies and processes, to increase research and to improve technological capacity.
SDG 11: Cities and communities
The goals of this SDG include increasing efficient use of resources and mitigating climate change. The railway is one of the modes that can contribute the most to achieve more sustainably connected cities.
The implementation of metro, light rail, tram, tram-train or cable car networks in some areas will help to provide access to safe, affordable and accessible transport systems for all citizens by 2030.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Target 13 calls for emergency measures to combat climate change and mitigate its effects. In this regard, encouraging the expansion of the presence of the railway, for both passengers and goods, will be key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The data support it. It is the least polluting and most environmentally friendly mode. The railway emits only 0.5% of total CO2 emissions.
SDG 6, 7 and 12: Circular Economy
Several of the SDGs are closely related to the circular economy. Alongside those mentioned above, SDG 6 (Water), SDG7 (Energy), and SDG 12 (Production and Consumption) are also included in this concept.
The circular economy means talking about an activity in harmony with its environment, which is committed to local development and employment, as well as maximum care for the environment. It is about acting in order to minimize waste production and to commit to reuse, repair and recycling. Also with the idea of reducing supply chains, and taking care of aspects such as land use, water, or energy, to protect biodiversity.
In this sense, companies in the sector work in line with these objectives to maintain natural capital, take care of the planet and improve the quality of life of the environment in which they develop their activity.