FW: [T_2000] Rail's Environmental Benefits - IRJ editorial
>From: "mike_a_jager" <mjager@...>
>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
>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
>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
>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