Participants in international Train to Copenhagen project cross East Siberia

Published December 1st, 2009 - 11:02 GMT

A journey of environmental protection experts across Russia’s railway is continuing as part of the international Train to Copenhagen project organized by the International Union of Railways (UIC) and Russian Railways (RZD), and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the WWF.

On 24-25 November, participants in the project travelled on the East Siberian Railway (a subsidiary of RZD). They visited a unique example of industrial architecture - the Circum-Baikal Railway – as well as the Listvyanka Limnological Institute.

At the institute, a roundtable meeting was held involving Nina Abarinova, the Irkutsk Region’s deputy minister for natural resources and the environment, Viktor Kolbut, associate professor of the Irkutsk State University of Railway Engineering’s ecology department, and Lyudmila Kruglyakova, the head of the natural protection department of the East Siberian Railway.

Representatives of RZD told guests about energy-saving technologies in rail transport and recycling of industrial waste.

Kruglyakova said: “In December this year on the East Siberian Railway, there are plans to launch a facility for treatment of industrial waste at the Tagul station. The goal of this complex is to conduct safe, environmentally friendly, high-temperature neutralization of old sleepers, liquid carbon-containing waste, and oiled rags. The maximum productivity of incineration will reach 500 kg/h (12 tons/day). The network has already spent more than 2.9 million dollars on this project.”

Participants in the briefing said that all environmental risks facing the Irkutsk Region will be reported in a “climate” message, and sent to the UN conference to be held in Copenhagen in December this year.

Participants’ impressions from the journey can be read on the site

The Train to Copenhagen project is taking place as part of a global project of Russian Railways (RZD) and the International Union of Railways (UIC), with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the WWF.

The campaign, organized with the aim of marking a transition to a new generation of agreements on future global climate cooperation, began on 5 November in Kyoto (Japan) with an UIC seminar on the role of rail transport in protecting the planet’s climate system.

From 21 November to 1 December, people who took part in the seminar are travelling on a symbolic journey along the Trans-Siberian route in a special RZD carriage. The group comprises four members: International Union of Railways representative Margrethe Sagevik, and journalists John Richard Scrase (Great Britain), Roberto Laurenzi (Italy) and Rebecca Vespa (Italy).

As part of the environmentalists’ journey across Russia’s railway, stops are planned at five large cities – Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Moscow.

Each stop will give journey participants the opportunity to meet with representatives of local authorities, representatives of environmental protection organizations, and journalists, and also to see innovative railway technology and personally witness the signs of climate change on Russia’s territory.

On 1 December, a greeting ceremony will be held for participants in the environmental journey, on their arrival in Moscow.

From Moscow, the team will travel on to Brussels, where they will join the Climate Express, which will depart on 5 December from Brussels for Copenhagen.
The Kyoto protocol expires at the end of 2012. In Copenhagen, the signing of a political agreement is expected on stepping up international dialogue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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