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Climate
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Insight

Carbon-Crediting Rail Transport

Rail-based transport delivers the best energy optimisation across public transport sector modes. It brings significant carbon emissions avoidance by promoting mode shift (avoidance of private vehicle trips), road congestion relief (improved fuel efficiency) and, significantly, a land-use multiplier (compact land use that allows alternatives in social, environmental or economic purposes).

The derived financial benefits or carbon-saving rewards of such emissions avoidance have yet to be established within a mechanism recognised under the formalised global climate change agenda. Industry participants, including the corporation, support the initiatives taken by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in advocating the role of rail transport within the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The corporation has taken this carbon dialogue a step further with the recent development of a carbon assessment protocol. This protocol introduces a set of tools to predict and track embodied carbon in development and to measure carbon emissions in the operations of a rail line. By understanding how much carbon is invested in a project, we can engineer design and materials that reduce the carbon footprint across the life of a rail asset. This furthers the directive of carbon mitigation or avoidance on a project-by-project basis.

The recognition and measurement of the rail transport carbon-saving agenda could provide further opportunity for overall urban planning. With the capacity to transfer the assessment method to other infrastructure projects, urban planners can prioritise projects, including rail, on a carbon-based assessment scale. This opens the broader dialogue on cities’ carbon reduction targets and how best to plan for them according to carbon intensities.

Related Material

Carbon-Crediting
Rail Transport

Rail-based transport delivers the best energy optimisation across public transport sector modes. more

In Hong Kong, we work actively with the HKSAR Government and city planners to promote rail as the backbone of public transport and support the government's broader initiatives aimed at changing carbon-intensive industry habits and targets. We support and are responding to government’s “Review and Update of the Second Railway Development Study” (RDS-2U) on best development of railway for domestic and cross-boundary transport. Due consideration is also given to relieving congestion and minimising bottlenecks in the current operating network.

We also engage with the government indirectly through industry organisations. For instance, in partnership with other businesses, as a member of the Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF), and chairing its Best Practice Committee, we support the government’s accelerated and more aggressive climate change mitigation and adaptation proposal. The CCBF represents member companies to support various climate and energy-related consultations from the HKSAR Government on topics such as the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area, on Restriction of the Sale of Energy-inefficient Incandescent Light Bulbs, and on establishing an Urban Climatic Map and Wind Environment. Also, through the Hong Kong Green Building Council, we promote the adoption of green building standards and sustainable buildings.

Internationally, we have supported rail as the low carbon transport solution through the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) since 2001 and helped develop the UITP Charter on Sustainable Development. We were pivotal in establishing the UITP Sustainable Development Commission. We share best practices and benchmark with our peers in the Community of Metros (CoMET), and supported a CO2 emissions study in 2009/2010 that led to the establishment of a carbon emissions KPI used among CoMET members to encourage continuous carbon reduction in the rail industry.