I am a huge fan of train transport. Many times I have had great adventure by train, all while enjoying a comfortable and eco-friendly mode of transport, not to mention pretty cheap. Amtrak is joining efforts to voluntarily and publicly report its greenhouse gas emissions and undergo an independent assessment of its programs to reduce its carbon footprint.
“Putting our emissions data out in the open for all to see and getting an outside review of our environmental programs will help make Amtrak a greener railroad” said Amtrak president and CEO Joseph Boardman.
Boardman announced that Amtrak is a new member of The Climate Registry, a non-profit organization founded to set consistent and transparent standards for businesses and governments to calculate, verify, and publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions. As a member, Amtrak is committed to the organizationâ€™s comprehensive reporting standards for recording and managing greenhouse gas emissions throughout its system including those from diesel and electric locomotives, passenger rail cars, maintenance equipment, stations, offices and other facilities. Amtrak is the first railroad to join this group.
Amtrak also is a new participant in Climate Counts, a non-profit organization which provides an independent and verifiable assessment of a companyâ€™s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment. The group uses 22 specific criteria to produce a scorecard to rate companies on how they measure their carbon footprint, reduce their impact on climate change, support effective climate legislation, and publicly disclose their climate actions in a clear and comprehensive manner.
Boardman explained Amtrak intends to use the information generated by these new initiatives to help assess the effectiveness of its greenhouse gas reduction program, determine what changes might be needed to strengthen it, compare itself with industry competitors, and identify opportunities for energy efficient transportation.
Currently, Amtrak is a charter member of the Chicago Climate Exchange that established a “cap and trade” market after organizations committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Amtrak committed to reduce its emissions from diesel locomotives by six percent from 2003 through 2010, the largest voluntary commitment in the United States. To date, Amtrak has exceeded all of the required interim annual reduction targets.
In addition, Amtrak offers its passengers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets from the non-profit organization Carbonfund.org and direct those funds to such areas as certified sustainable reforestation and alternative energy projects. Also, Amtrak is reducing the amount of “idling” time on diesel locomotives; using dynamic and regenerative braking systems on electric locomotives to return energy to the grid; employing bio-lubricants in hydraulic systems; and using lighter and more aerodynamic vehicle carriers on the Auto Train, among other efforts to move the railroad toward a more sustainable transportation system.