Climate change and environmental destruction pose an existential threat to Europe and the rest of the world. That’s why the EU is planning to go climate neutral by 2050 with its own Green Deal. Deutsche Bahn has ambitious targets and is on track to become climate neutral ten years earlier. Over the last 30 years, DB has reduced its carbon emissions by some 70%, a significant feat. Choosing rail transport – both for passengers and freight – therefore actively protects the climate.
We’ve accepted the climate challenge and are already delivering results today. Every freight train already produces 80% to 100% lower carbon emissions than the equivalent road transport. And the number of freight trains running every week in Europe – currently some 20,000 – is set to increase dramatically to get even more of these rolling climate guardians onto the rails. The investment and modernisation campaign launched through the Strong Rail strategy is helping us organise the shift from one mode of transport to another and to achieve the EU’s climate targets.
True climate guardians at work
The transport sector produces a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, and its share continues to grow. To achieve climate neutrality, transport-related emissions must therefore be reduced by 90% by 2050. Today, 95% of our traction power is already provided by electricity, and this figure is on the rise. Where diesel locomotives are still needed, such as for shunting operations and last-mile services, we’re currently testing alternative drive systems and fuels.
Green electricity already makes up 61% of DB’s standard traction current mix. Our freight customers also have the option of booking a journey powered by 100% renewable energy, just like passengers travelling by ICE. We call this DBeco plus, which means we run transports on all electrified routes in Germany using 100% renewable power. Most of this electricity is drawn from Germany’s own renewable energy sources. Climate protection is an exact science, so DBeco plus also offsets emissions produced upstream. Additionally, DBeco plus represents an investment in future projects. Ten percent of earnings from the service are ploughed into new infrastructure to generate carbon-free electricity. With DBeco neutral, we’re making carbon-neutral rail transports accessible worldwide through emissions offsets. For this reason, a growing number of major customers in the automotive, steel and chemicals industries – and, increasingly, producers of consumer goods – are placing orders for transports powered by 100% certified renewable energy when they ship freight with our services. This applies to combined, single-wagonload and block-train transport.
DB Cargo goes a step further
Digitalisation is also helping to make us a rolling climate saviour, thereby ensuring that future generations will have a world to inhabit. But how? Automated train formation and digital automatic coupling will increase efficiency and provide a powerful boost for green rail.
“Sustainability has to come from the heart.” Read this week’s articles to learn which of our customers this quote comes from and how we’ll make this happen together.