The 26th UN Conference of the Parties will be hosted by the UK in Glasgow from 1st to 12th November 2021. This is when country representatives meet together to review progress on their own targets were set to meet the UN target to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the Covid 19 situation, current planning assumes that some kind of physical conference will take place.
As rail emits far less greenhouse gases than air per passenger kilometre travelled, it is essential that delegates, lobbyists and journalists minimise their “carbon footprints” by travelling to and from the conference by Rail where possible. While Glasgow is not geographically “At the Heart of Europe”, those travelling from the UK and Mainland Europe do have a realistic rail alternative. Day time travel combining High Speed trains from Paris,Lille, Brussels & Amsterdam with a short walk in London to Euston station is possible with a journey time of around 8 hours. Those with a longer journey might wish to stop-over on the way in London, Brussels or Paris for example, and could combine high speed day trains with Night trains. A practical choice could be to buy a 3-day or 5-day within a month Interrail pass.
For this very reason, a group of environmental campaigners (Youth for Sustainable Travel) showed us the way forward when they “Sailed to COP 25” which was due to be held in Santiago in Chile from 2nd – 13th December 2019. While on their way sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, the Chilean President cancelled the conference on the 31st October due to the civil unrest taking place in that country. The conference was then moved to Madrid, due to start on the same date, which did not give them enough time to sail back to Spain. They had, along with Greta Thunberg , publicised the need for all countries to drastically reduce their transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Now the same group have now set up “Rail to the Cop” together with young climate activists and experts. Their campaign was launched on 1st May 2021. They are inviting, supporting and encouraging young people from all over Europe to set up regional initiatives for travel to Glasgow by train or to join them in Brussels for the journey.
Back-on-Track has set up a sub-group which will be supporting their campaign during the course of this year.