Prepared by: ICF International
April 22, 2015
This report analyzes the techno-economic feasibility of different technologies and best practices (actions) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rail transportation (both freight and passenger) in Canada over the next 20 to 30 years. It: explores what Canada’s rail fleet needs to do to achieve significant GHG emission reductions; reviews current studies respecting the ways to reduce GHG emissions from rail; estimates Canada’s rail GHG emissions 20 to 30 years in the future in a “business as usual scenario”; identifies best practices that yield the greatest return on investment with respect to GHG emission reduction; and, recommends practices in which the Canadian rail fleet can invest to achieve Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) GHG targets. From a catalogue of existing studies, 14 of the most promising actions are identified and profiled in terms of their applicability, GHG reduction potential, availability, practicality, and cost-effectiveness. These actions are then assembled into packages to calculate the Technical Potential and Economic Potential for GHG reductions. The research shows that in the case of freight rail, the Economic Potential package should be sufficient to meet IPCC targets, but the Economic Potential package in regard to passenger rail will not be sufficient. This research also provides a foundation for additional analysis of the achievable potential, given a selection of policy scenarios.