Indian Railways has a major role to play in contributing to India’s NDCs through several means to combat climate change:
To increase the share of railways in the overall land based freight movement from the present 36 per cent to 45 per cent by 2030.
Indian Railways is setting up Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) across the country. The first phase of the project alone is estimated to reduce emissions by about 457 million tonnes over a period of 30 years.
Increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix.
Railways will further improve its energy efficiency for both diesel and electric traction, thereby reducing GHG emissions for the country.
The PAT scheme will be implemented in the railway sector.
Use of 5% blending of biofuels in traction diesel fuel.
Improve water use efficiency by 20% by 2030.
Plantation to increase the carbon sink.
Waste management and pollution control.
Adoption of good practices on green buildings, industrial units and other establishments to manage resources and infrastructure to achieve environment
Sustainability in the development of IR.
Contribution to “Clean India Mission”.
The reforms undertaken by Indian Railways since 2014 can be broadly classified into the following areas:
Net-Zero Carbon Emissions:-
IR plans to gradually reduce its carbon footprint and become a net zero carbon emitter by 2030. IR will strive to reduce its carbon footprint primarily through sourcing its energy requirements from renewable energy sources. By 2029-30, the expected requirement for installation of renewable capacity will be around 30 GW. IR has established
142 MW solar rooftop capacity and 103.4 MW wind power by August 2022.
Other strategies for Net Zero Emitters include taking a multi-pronged approach to electrification of its routes, shifting from diesel to electric traction, promoting energy efficiency, building dedicated freight corridors, green certification of railway installations, etc.
IR has electrified 52,508 RKM out of the total BG network of 65,141 RKM (80.61%).
With 100% electrification, electricity demand will increase from 21 BU in 2019-20 to around 72 BU by 2029-30. As per normal mode of business, carbon emissions are estimated to be 60 million tonnes by 2029-30 which will be offset by various measures planned by Indian Railways.
Water Policy 2017 released for effective water management:-
Water Policy 2017 has been issued to all Zonal Railways and Production Units for implementation in Railway Stations, Trains, Railway Colonies etc. This is a part of the overall efforts by the Government of India to achieve a 20% reduction in water consumption by 2020. Nationally determined contribution. The main objective of this policy is to improve water use efficiency by effective demand and supply management, setting up water efficient systems and setting up water recycling plants on railway land.
Creation of additional carbon sinks by afforestation
Afforestation is done by the Railway Department in the vacant railway land and between the sections. In pursuance of Railway’s commitment towards environmental improvement and sustainable development, forest departments of the states are getting involved in tree plantation as well as maintenance and disposal of trees.
IR has been planting about 1 crore trees annually since 2017. 72 lakh saplings have been planted during the year 2021-22.