Environmentalists and Business Leaders Take the Climate Express to Copenhagen

November 5, 2009
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Kyoto/Barcelona - More than 400 climate change negotiators, business leaders and environmental activists will travel together on board the Climate Express train to Copenhagen in a call for world leaders to agree a fair, ambitious and binding deal to address climate change when they meet at the UN climate summit in Denmark.

Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, will board the train alongside Franny Armstrong, the producer and director of the film 'The Age of Stupid', Luo Hong, the wildlife photographer and UNEP Climate Hero, and Apa Sherpa a WWF Climate Witness who holds the world record for the most ascents of Mount Everest, Yoshio Ishida, UIC Chairman and Vice Chairman of East Japan railways, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, the Director General of the International Union of Railways (UIC). They will be joined by top rail executives including as well as other passengers from the media, to business leaders, to civil society (see Note to Editors).

The Climate Express train, will travel from Brussels to Copenhagen on 5 December and will be the final leg of the 'Train to Copenhagen' project, organized by the International Union of Railways (UIC) with the support of the UN's Seal the Deal! campaign and WWF, the global conservation organisation. The 'on-track' conference aims to raise awareness of the transport sector's influence on climate change, and provides a key opportunity for the passengers on board to debate the key climate talks ahead, during workshops and round table discussions on the different aspects of sustainable mobility, and how this could be addressed in a post-2012 agreement.

The next generation climate regime, to be agreed upon in Copenhagen, must support the development of smart sustainable transport systems. Rail, as one of the most sustainable forms of transport, offers an efficient, low-carbon mass public transportation system, as well as safety and space efficiency. By drawing power entirely from renewable sources of energy, the journey on the Climate Express will be totally CO2-free. If the same group of people flew to Copenhagen instead of taking the train, they would produce 115kg CO2 per person.

Connie Hedegaard, the COP 15 host and Danish Climate Minister and Søren Eriksen, CEO of the Danish Railways (DSB), will welcome the Climate Express at arrival in Copenhagen.

Also as part of the 'Train to Copenhagen' project, the UIC Climate Change and Rail Seminar will kick off on 5 November in the Japanese city of Kyoto - the birthplace of the current Climate Change Protocol. The seminar, co-organized with the Asian railways, will highlight how transport can be part of the solution in the fight against global warming.

To underline what railways have to offer, a Global Rail Position Paper will also be carried by rail via Vladivostok, Moscow, Berlin and Brussels before reaching Copenhagen. Based on data gathered from international railways, the paper advocates a shift to rail from road and air as a crucial step to support transitions to low-carbon mobility.

During the journey through Russia, environmental experts and climate change campaigners will report on the signs of global warming underway via and on Twitter at

Mr Loubinoux underlines that "UIC believes that reducing transport emissions is a crucial step in combating global warming. We in the rail sector are ready to be part of the solution. Keep Kyoto on track and Seal the Deal!"

Notes to Editors:

About the Climate Express train

The Climate Express train will travel from Brussels to Copenhagen on 5 December, stopping in Cologne and Hamburg along the way. The 12-hour journey will feature workshops and round table discussions.

Personalities boarding the Climate Express train to Copenhagen on 5 December will include:

  1. Mr. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director
  2. Mr Paul Magnette, Belgian Federal Minister of Climate & Energy
  3. Mr Etienne Schouppe, Belgian State Secretary for Mobility
  4. Mr Matthias Ruete, Director General, Energy and Transport at the European Commission
  5. Mr. Yoshio Ishida, UIC Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Japan East Railways
  6. Mr. Guillaume Pepy, CEO of SNCF
  7. Mr Jannie Haek, CEO SNCB-Holding
  8. Mr Marc Descheemaecker, CEO SNCB
  9. Mr Francisco José Cardoso Dos Reis, President of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Railways (CP)
  10. Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General.
  11. Mr Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele, IPCC Vice-President
  12. Mr. Wang Shi, the Chairman of the Chinese Society of Ecology and Entrepreneurs and Chairman of Vanke corporation
  13. Ms. Franny Armstrong, the producer and director of the film The Age of Stupid
  14. Mr. Luo Hong, the wildlife photographer and UNEP Climate Hero
  15. Mr Apa Sherpa, mountaineer and WWF Climate Witness


About the Train to Copenhagen initiative

A number of UIC members are undertaking local Train to Copenhagen campaigns to facilitate transportation to the COP15 for national delegations and other participants, including special fares. Check your local railway company for more information or


About UIC

UIC is the International Union of Railways - the worldwide organisation for international cooperation among railways and for the promotion of rail transport at world level in order to meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development. UIC has 200 members on all five continents and is headquartered in Paris (

UIC is working continuously to further improve the environmental and sustainability advantages of the rail sector - including its energy efficiency. UIC is also leading the rail sector's work in adapting rail infrastructure to the consequences of climate change.

About UNEP

UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.


About WWF

WWF is the world's leading independent conservation organization working to solve the most serious environmental issues facing our planet.  WWF's solutions-focused and science-based approach underpins our a call for a fair, ambitious and legally-binding global agreement on climate change to be agreed in Copenhagen.


About the Seal the Deal! Campaign

The UN-led Seal the Deal Campaign aims to galvanize political will and public support for reaching a comprehensive global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December. As well as featuring a series of initiatives worldwide in the run-up to the Copenhagen meeting, the campaign encourages users to sign an online, global petition which will be presented by civil society to governments of the world.

For more information please contact:


Delphine Margot, on tel.: +33 1 44 49 20 55, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); or

Liesbeth de Jong, on tel.: +33 1 44 49 20 53, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

At UNEP:        

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, on mobile +41 79 596 5737 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ; or

Xenya Scanlon, Information Officer, on mobile +254 721 847 563 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)