I’ve been traveling Amtrak for business a lot lately, from Washington, D.C., to points north, including Philadelphia, New York City, and Newark, and I’ve been reminded of how relaxing and time saving train travel can be. For one thing, train stations are typically right in the heart of cities; for another, it’s easy to plug in and work.
So, I was delighted to learn that Amtrak has pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the Amtrak Network by 2045. According to an announcement of the commitment, “This net zero emissions target focuses on expanding efforts across Amtrak’s entire carbon footprint to reduce environmental impacts from operations while safely moving people.”
“Not only are trains convenient and comfortable, they are also one of the most sustainable modes of transportation,” says Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “With new equipment, modernized stations and net zero emissions, Amtrak can lead the drive toward sustainable transportation throughout the nation.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg praised the initiative. “We congratulate Amtrak for this ambitious commitment to further reduce its carbon footprint, cementing its place as a leader in the clean transportation revolution,” Buttigieg said. “As we continue working to implement President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we look forward to working with Amtrak to demonstrate the key role of passenger rail in fighting climate change.”
The pledge is good news for meeting planners and companies committed to their own sustainability goals, who might want to suggest trains as one way attendees can get to conferences and trade shows.
Here’s a closer look at the elements of Amtrak’s commitment:
- Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across Amtrak's network by 2045: Begin with efforts to increase energy efficiency, followed by the implementation of renewable fuels and energy.
- Reduce diesel fuel use through advanced technologies: Leverage industry-leading research and testing in collaboration with state partners and experts to progress innovation and research in fuel-cells, hydrogen, batteries and other zero-emission technologies.
- Achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030: Continually focus on energy efficiency upgrades to reduce consumption and gradually meet all remaining needs using carbon-free electricity through renewable energy generation and power purchase agreements.
You can learn more about Amtrak’s approach to sustainability at Amtrak.com/sustainability.