Adopting an integrated approach for a Green Environment, Indian Railways has planned to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2030 and also focus on increasing network capacity to enhance its share in freight transportation.
The government, as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), has set a target of 33 per cent emissions intensity reduction, with the transport sector being one of the key sectors with substantial mitigation potential.
One of the most vital transportation emissions mitigation strategies agreed to, by the Centre, was increasing the share of Indian Railways in the movement of freight from the current 35-36 percent to 45 per cent by 2030.
The country’s railway network is being electrified to reduce pollution and carry on transportation in an environment-friendly way, according to the Indian Railways.
Other strategies towards achieving net-zero emissions include taking a multi-pronged approach of electrification of its routes, shifting from diesel to electric traction, promotion of energy efficiency, construction of Dedicated Freight Corridors, green certification of Railway Establishments etc.
In order to enhance the share of the railways in the overall land based freight transport from present 36 per cent to 45 per cent by the year 2030, Indian Railways is setting up Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) across the country.
The first phase of the project alone is estimated to reduce emissions by about 457 million ton CO2 over a 30 year period.
The railways is planning to further improve its energy efficiency for both diesel and electric traction, thereby facilitating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the country.
Use of 5 per cent blending of biofuels in traction diesel fuel, improve water use efficiency by 20 per cent, upto 2030 and tree plantation to increase carbon sink, are among many steps being undertaken additionally, to curb emission.
Indian Railways has a major role in contributing to India’s NDC towards combating climate change through several means.
The railways has set a target of becoming a “Net Zero” entity by 2030 by completing electrification of all railway tracks. It will attempt to reduce its carbon footprint primarily through sourcing of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources.
By 2029-30, the expected requirement of installation of renewable capacity would be about 30 GW. It has installed 142 MW solar rooftop capacity and 103.4 MW of wind power capacity by August, 2022.
Besides, the railways is also adopting good practices on green buildings, industrial units and other establishments for the management of resources and infrastructure to achieve environmental sustainability.
Currently, the Railways has electrified 52,508 km out of a total broad gauge network of 65,141 km (80.61 per cent).
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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