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New report shows Canadian railways are on track with GHG emissions reductions

Canada’s railways are well positioned to meet their  greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, according to the latest Locomotive Emissions Monitoring (LEM) Program report released today by the Railway Association of Canada (RAC). The report documents emissions of GHGs and criteria air contaminants (CAC) from locomotives operating in Canada between 2012 and 2013.

“Investments in more efficient locomotives, among other fuel-management technologies and policies, have allowed Canada’s railways to make substantial emissions reductions,” said RAC President and CEO Michael Bourque. “Today’s locomotives can haul a tonne of goods almost 200 km on a single litre of fuel, and in doing so, remove more than 300 trucks from the road – limiting harmful emissions and reducing road congestion.”

Since 1990, Canada’s freight and passenger railways have reduced their GHG emissions intensity by more than a third, despite increasing freight and passenger rail traffic. According to the LEM Report, in 2013, GHG emissions from all railway operations in Canada declined by 1.6 per cent from 2012.

The railway industry’s achievements complement Canada’s goal to reduce overall emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. They also support the international commitment to keep the average global temperature rise well below two degrees, as agreed to in Paris last week. Despite moving 75 million passengers and close to 70 per cent of all intercity surface goods in Canada each year, railways produce just 3 per cent of our country’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions – making rail one of Canada’s greenest transportation options.

This is the third report released under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between RAC and Transport Canada. The MOU – which encourages RAC’s Class 1 freight, shortline and intercity passenger railway members to voluntarily cut their emissions intensity – and the Action Plan for Reducing GHG Emissions have been extended to the end of 2016.



Alex Paterson
Railway Association of Canada

About the Railway Association of Canada

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) represents more than 50 freight and passenger railway companies that move 75 million people and more than $280 billion worth of goods in Canada each year. As the voice of Canada’s railway industry, RAC advocates on behalf of its members and associate members to ensure that the rail sector remains globally competitive, sustainable, and most importantly, safe. Learn more at railcandev.wpengine.com. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.