Amtrak Set to Have Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2045

Amtrak has recently set a public goal of having Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2045. 

Amtrak, America’s largest passenger rail provider, has recently announced that they are set to achieve Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2045. The rail company joins an ever-growing cadre of organizations pledging to meet ambitious pollution reduction goals by the middle of the century. For Amtrak, this will be a particularly large lift, as much of their rail fleet is currently powered by fossil fuels.

According to Amtrak:

Climate change requires collective action to curb emissions and mitigate irreversible environmental and societal damage. Amtrak plans to take the following actions, which would provide significant benefits to the customers and communities we serve:

  • Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across Amtrak’s network by 2045: Begin with efforts to increase energy efficiency, followed by the implementation of renewable fuels and energy.
  • Reduce diesel fuel use through advanced technologies: Leverage industry-leading research and testing in collaboration with state partners and experts to progress innovation and research in fuel-cells, hydrogen, batteries and other zero-emission technologies.
  • Achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030: Continually focus on energy efficiency upgrades to reduce consumption and gradually meet all remaining needs using carbon-free electricity through renewable energy generation and power purchase agreements.

The final point is of most interest and garners the most criticism. As previously mentioned by Conduit Street,

Recently in California, residents were asked to limit EV charging during one of the peak travel seasons. The limit was primarily due to concerns regarding a recent heatwave, but critics rightly point to a lack of sufficient renewable/clean electricity generation to support the expanded adoption of EVs.

Similar to the challenges posed in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), the US currently does not have a constant and sizeable supply of 100% carbon-free electricity. A lack of large and reliable batteries means that power generated from solar and wind cannot be used throughout the day, and evenings are a particular challenge. Climate pledges like the one from Amtrak hinge on the future development and rollout of renewable power generation and storage. This is not something that is impossible but does deserve some note.

Read the full press release.