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FW: [T_2000] Rail's Environmental Benefits - IRJ editorial

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  • Andrew Dawson
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2004
      >From: "mike_a_jager" <mjager@...>
      >Reply-To: T_2000@yahoogroups.com
      >To: T_2000@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [T_2000] Rail's Environmental Benefits - IRJ editorial
      >Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2004 01:06:19 -0000
      >Rail's Environmental Benefits
      >David Briginshaw, Editor-In-Chief
      >International Rail Journal
      >December 2004
      >THE 40th anniversary of the world's first high-speed railway, the
      >Tokaido Shinkansen, was marked in Tokyo on November 9 by a
      >conference staged by JR Central and JR West on the
      >environmental benefits of high-speed rail. Mr Lester Brown,
      >president of the Earth Policy Institute in the United States, gave
      >an impressive keynote speech on the environmental problems
      >currently facing the planet and the measures that need to be
      >taken now to resolve them.
      >Brown said that soil erosion, which has been a major threat to
      >food production, has now been joined by two new environmental
      >trends that will also jeopardise food production: falling water
      >tables and an average annual rise in temperature of 0.7�C.
      >According to Brown, each 1�C increase leads to a 10% reduction
      >in rice, grain, wheat and corn production. Brown believes that the
      >situation will come to a head very soon. "World grain stocks are
      >now down to their lowest level; just barely covering this year's
      >consumption," he said. "Next year will be a challenge, especially
      >if it is a poor harvest."
      >Brown said that it is vital to increase water productivity, stabilise
      >the world population, and stabilise the climate. He said this is
      >entirely achievable provided we use imagination and have strong
      >It will be disastrous if China, India, and other developing
      >countries emulate the developed world with its disposable
      >society and automobile-centred transport. "To change China to a
      >car-dependent society, you would have to pave over an area
      >equivalent to that used to grow rice," Brown pointed out. Rail, on
      >the other hand, has a huge landtake advantage over road.
      >Professor K Ueta of Kyoto University, added that if China reached
      >the same level of car ownership as Japan the number of cars in
      >China would be equivalent to the total number of cars in the
      >world today.
      >Rail clearly has an important role to play in solving the world's
      >environmental problems. Dr Tsutomu Toichi, managing director
      >of Japan's Institute of Energy Economics, said that rail
      >consumes the least energy of all modes of transport. Trains
      >consume 50kcal/passenger-km, compared with 300 for buses,
      >480 for aircraft, 550 for ferries, and 580 for cars.
      >Brown remarked that Japan had set the standard for rail
      >transport. "It is hard to imagine Japan without a high-speed rail
      >system. Without the Shinkansen, there would be more pollution
      >and road congestion."
      >Mr Masayuki Matsumoto, president of JR Central, said that the
      >Tokaido Shinkansen had an 81% share of the air-rail market
      >between Tokyo and Osaka. The project to reduce journey times
      >and build a new station at Shinagawa had boosted traffic on both
      >the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen by 5%.
      >Matsumoto pointed out that improvements in train design had
      >significant environmental benefits. "Our most recent series 700
      >trains run at 270km/h yet consume 16% less energy than the
      >original series 0 rolling stock running at 220km/h." The new
      >N700, which is due to enter revenue service in 2007, is expected
      >to be 10% more energy efficient. A prototype N700 will start trials
      >next year.
      >Mr Louis Gallois, president of French National Railways (SNCF),
      >pointed out that TGV uses 3.5 times less energy than a private
      >car and six times less than a medium-range aircraft. He also
      >said that a double-track high-speed railway uses only half the
      >land needed for a four-lane highway but has a greater capacity.
      >Mr Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO of German Rail (DB), pointed out the
      >benefits of electric traction. He said 90% of trains in Germany are
      >powered by electricity. "In 2003, 281GWh of power was fed back
      >into the grid from braking energy, setting a new world record,"
      >Mehdorn told delegates. Energy-saving driving techniques
      >enabled DB to reduce traction current costs by 10% last year,
      >saving about $US 10 million. Mehdorn also pointed that almost
      >11% of DB's energy comes from renewable sources, namely
      >hydroelectric, wind, and solar power. "Without the railway, an
      >additional 16 million tonnes of CO2 would be emitted into the air
      >over Germany."
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