India has the world’s fourth largest rail network and also second largest under single management, with a total route network of about 64,500 km spread across 8,241 stations. It operates more than 19,000 trains, 229,381 wagons, 59,713 coaches and 8,417 locomotives every day. The Indian Railways moves more than 1000 million tonnes of freight annually, making it one of the busiest rail networks in the world. Moreover, it transported a staggering 8,224 million passengers in 2011-12. Consequently large amounts of Green House Gases (GHGs) are generated due to the combustion of diesel and very small use of other liquid fuels, as coal use in railways has become minimal. The railways emitted 6.84 million tons of CO2 eq. in 2007, where more than 90% of the emissions were in the form of CO2 (INCCA, 2007). Given its growth, the railway sector is a growing source of GHG emissions, however less emission intensive as compared to Air and Road transport sectors. At a time when climate change is a central element in all economic decision making and choices, rail becomes the right alternative. Rail freight is the eco-friendly solution to transport more goods in a better way for the climate.
Companies that are accounting their GHG emissions are expanding their sphere of accounting to include scope 3 emissions. As a first step towards shifting to a less emission intensive alternative for transport, many companies are looking at quantifying and comparing emissions from the available options. The challenge however, is to find India specific emission factors. International factors are currently in use and may not be representative of the Indian scenario. This working aims to determine a methodology to estimate India specific rail transport emission factors to aid the Indian corporate strengthen its GHG accounting process.
The first meeting was held on 30 May 2014 in New Delhi and the second meeting was held on 12 December 2014 in New Delhi.
The India specific rail transport emission factor methodology can be accessed here
Photo by Dave Cooper/WRI