The ‘Climate Express’ train travelled 9,000 miles and took over a month to journey between Kyoto and Copenhagen. The stunt was organised by the International Union of Railways (UIC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the global conservation organisation WWF in order to highlight transport’s influence on climate change.

Symbolic though it was, it does serve to highlight the scale of global transport networks – to travel 9,000 miles on the railways is no mean feat. The demands of the globalised economy have resulted in states racing to deliver transport and infrastructure projects. Academics and the World Bank agree that these projects have together seen the displacement of 15 million people a year and resulted in 90-100 million people living in the cycle of development-induced displacement. This displacement has devastating effects on the politically under -epresented communities involved. In addition to this, numerous NGOs and institutions have highlighted the emission levels and wider environmental impacts of transport and infrastructure development across the globe.

The transport sector as a whole is a major producer of CO2 emissions, already accounting for over one-fifth of global emissions. These emissions are projected to double within just 40 years.  The ‘Climate Express’ sought to highlight the role the railways could play in reducing emissions.

The Copenhagen Conference demonstrates the need for all countries to reduce transport emissions. The Labour Government and Party must continue to promote and advocate the need for continued environmental and socially responsible transport development.

Labour has a strong track record of putting significant investment and support into the development of a wide range of local or rural, national and international networks; from cycling and walking through to bus, road, rail (both passenger and freight) and maritime.

Strained economic times have seen the importance of the case for sustainable and fiscally responsible transport management and development grow. Whether the Conservative Party will be able to demonstrate they have the commitment and practical policies to improve this policy area is still very much to be proved.

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