On the trail of CO2

09. 04. 2019

More than three million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are saved annually by ÖBB rail transport in Austria. The Rail Cargo Group saves the environment a little more than one million tons of CO2 through national rail freight transport alone.

But how much is one tonne of CO2?

We are having a look...

Every year we transport 115 million tonnes of goods by rail - throughout Europe and even to Asia. We transport 83 million tons of goods to and through Austria alone. The fact that rail freight transport is sustainable per se is no big surprise or news.

The railways are and will remain the most CO2-efficient means of transport and thus, the most efficient lever for climate protection. The principle behind it is also very simple:

For every kilometer and every tonne transported by rail, helps protect the environment - 21 times more in Austria than road freight transport.

An average truck causes 86.7g of greenhouse gas emissions per every tonne of freight volume per kilometer. In comparison, rail freight transport only produces a figure of 4.1 grams.  In Austria, 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 are saved annually by rail transport - about one third of this by rail freight transport alone.

This is made possible in Austria by the efficient electricity mix of the ÖBB traction current.

The fact that 100% of the traction current has been generated from renewable energy since July 2018 will continue to have a positive effect on CO2 emissions.  You will find out how this works in one of our next articles.

What is not at all tangible and, incidentally, difficult to imagine is illustrated by concrete examples.

Or do you know how much a tonne of CO2 is?

The per capita greenhouse gas balance in Austria is ten tonnes per year, i.e. every Austrian causes ten tonnes of CO2 per year through their consumption and lifestyle.

One tonne of CO2 is roughly equivalent to the volume of a swimming pool at 10 meters wide by 25 meters long with a depth of 2 meters.

If you drive a car that consumes 8.5 liters of petrol per hundred kilometers from Dornbirn to Moscow and back (almost 5,000 kilometers), you will consume one tonne of CO2.

The production of 150,000 sheets of A4 paper, equivalent to around 800 kilograms of paper, also causes one tonne of CO2.

It is also important to mention how the environment deals with this pollution.

Picture this: To absorb or process one tonne of CO2 from the environment, you need a beech that will grow for about 80 years. It is obvious that it is the duty and responsibility of all of us to take action against the rapidly advancing climate changes. With that said, it is better to act on it today and realize that the environment concerns us all. Together with other leading railways and the European Rail Freight Forward initiative, we as Rail Cargo Group are setting standards in climate protection.

Good to know

Why is CO2 harmful to our climate? Our atmosphere contains greenhouse gases that act as a protective shield and prevent the natural heat generated by the earth from escaping. However, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) rises too much as a result of industry, households and transport, so that our atmosphere heats up unnaturally, which leads to global warming, as science argues.

More information to global warming you can find here.