Iarnród Éireann and the Environment
The greenhouse effect will undoubtedly be one of the most serious problems facing mankind in the 21st century. Its effects are both immeasurable and irreversible. They include climatic changes, rising sea levels, famine. The greenhouse effect is caused by the emission of certain gases, especially carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and is directly linked to man's use of fossil fuels (oil, coal, etc).
Transport is central to the problem and is responsible for one fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions today. 80 to 90% of the emissions attributed to the transport sector are due to cars and lorries. Moreover, emission levels are increasing faster than technological progress due to the total dependency of road and air transport on oil and to the increase in traffic.
Despite the overall objectives for reducing emissions proposed by governments, which are insufficient according to scientific experts, the transport system is heading for an inextricable situation.
Rail Transport can help
Rail transport offers great potential for solving the "mobility or environment" dilemma in view of its recognised environmental advantages over other modes of transport.
Trains are more energy-efficient than other modes and, by using electricity, can easily adapt to different sources of energy, in particular those that are renewable and less polluting.
Trains have a better ratio of CO2 emissions to traffic when compared to other modes.
On this basis, trains can offer a much more efficient and environmentally friendly means of transport for:
- urban and local passenger services
- intercity and, particularly, high speed services
- freight services and, particularly, combined transport
A move towards cleaner modes of transport and, in particular, the train appears to be increasingly necessary in the most developed countries.
Iarnród Éireann is committed to operating in an environmentally sound manner, and to encouraging the expansion of rail as a mode of transport for passengers and freight in order to reduce the greenhouse effect and other forms of pollution.