Amtrak aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045

·2 min read

Story at a glance

  • Amtrak on Thursday announced efforts to hit net-zero by 2045 will involve reducing the use of diesel fuel and phasing in renewable fuels in its network over the next decades.

  • The rail service said it plans to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 by investing in new fuel-cell, hydrogen and battery technologies.

  • Amtrak executives said setting clear goals to reduce emissions is particularly important for attracting “a new generation of travelers who are conscious of their environmental impact.”

Passenger rail service Amtrak is aiming to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 to reduce its impact on the environment.

Amtrak on Thursday announced efforts to hit that mark will involve reducing the use of diesel fuel and phasing in renewable fuels in its network over the next decades. The rail service said it plans to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 by investing in new fuel-cell, hydrogen and battery technologies.

Funds from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law will be used to help Amtrak develop a more sustainable fleet, expand service and revamp part of the rail’s aging infrastructure. The legislation includes $66 billion in rail funding, the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.

“We congratulate Amtrak for this ambitious commitment to further reduce its carbon footprint, cementing its place as a leader in the clean transportation revolution,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

“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,” Buttigieg added.

Amtrak executives said setting clear goals to reduce emissions is particularly important for attracting “a new generation of travelers who are conscious of their environmental impact.”

Amtrak last year announced a $7.3 billion investment to procure 83 new trains that will operate mostly along the Northeast Corridor, which include some of the first hybrid-electric powered trains. The trains will start replacing older trains, some of which are nearly 50 years old, in 2024.

The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., making up 27 percent of total emissions in 2020. Rail makes up just 2 percent of transportation emissions, while cars and trucks make up more than 80 percent.

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