The situation may seem incongruous: in the alpine valleys, elected environmentalists have long opposed the construction of a railway line. Dedicated to connecting Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes with the Italian Piedmont, the Lyon-Turin rail tunnel sparks debate: its construction is fifteen years late and its cost has skyrocketed by 85% according to the European Court of Auditors. Its promoter, Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin (TELT), continues to defend that the work will allow the transfer of goods from the road to the rail, thus decarbonizing the cross-border flow of goods. However, the site’s carbon footprint leaves a lot to be desired.
The TELT estimated in 2012 that the construction of the cross-border link would generate 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent (teqCO2). On the basis of the contracting authority’s traffic estimates, the European Court of Auditors concluded that the emissions of the Lyon-Turin train would only be compensated 25 years after its entry into service. Provided that the projections presented have not been overestimated, the institution clarifies: “This prediction also depends on traffic volumes: if they only reach half of the expected level, fifty years will pass from the entry into service of the infrastructure before emit CO2. for its construction it is compensated.”
An example and a doubt that aviation defenders sometimes use to increase the carbon bill of trains. Justly?
Consider emissions to produce energy
First, we must remember the orders of magnitude. According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 15% of global CO2 emissions are produced directly by the transport sector. Even more so if we include indirect emissions: energy production and infrastructure construction. Because…