The future of rail: opportunities for energy and the environment

Rail is among the most energy efficient modes of transport for freight and passengers, yet is often neglected in public debate, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency prepared in cooperation with the International Union of Railways (UIC). The Future of Rail is the latest in the IEA series shining a light on “blind spots” in the energy system, which are issues that deserve more attention from policymakers. The transport sector is responsible for almost one-third of final energy demand, nearly two-thirds of oil demand and nearly one-quarter of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fuel combustion. Therefore changes in transportation are fundamental to achieving energy transitions globally. While the rail sector carries 8% of the world’s passengers and 7% of global freight transport, it represents only 2% of total transport energy demand, highlighting its efficiency.

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