Ahead of COP-21 Climate Change Meet, Railway Ministry bracing for Green initiatives campaign

New Delhi: Ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP)-21 climate change meeting in Paris in November, where countries will submit their Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDCs) for reducing energy intensity, the rail ministry is working on a massive media campaign to highlight the rail sector’s efforts at battling climate change under the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

More than 200 countries will meet in Paris in December under the aegis of the United Nations and try to hammer out a deal to slow human-induced climate change by agreeing to keep temperatures below a ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. India, which is expected to release its INDC for Paris later this month, is one of the few large economies not to commit to a “peak year” for its carbon emissions.

The rail ministry’s campaign will kick-off in the second week of November and focus on multiple areas including throughput enhancement efforts which augment carrying capacity, solar energy initiatives, savings in traction and non-traction energy use, bio-toilets and water conservation. Railway Board Chairman AK Mital has directed General Managers (GMs) of the 17 railway zones to be prepared for the campaign that will be aimed at both domestic and international audience.

Mital has told the GMs Prime Minister Narendra Modi has desired that India’s efforts on dealing with climate change and other green initiatives should be highlighted and showcased in the run-up to the COP. All the ministries have been asked to bring out booklets, brochures and short video films providing a snapshot of the environmental and green sustainability initiatives of the ministries including their Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

“As railways are an environmentally sustainable mode of transport and have been playing a key role in saving energy and protecting environment, we should launch an effective media campaign targeted at domestic as well as international audience during the second week of November,” Mital has told the GMs.

The ministry has asked the Advisor of its Environment and Health Management directorate to co-ordinate the campaign from the railway board. Each zonal railway and railway PSU will appoint a nodal officer who will provide inputs to the ministry before 25 September.