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European delegates board ‘Climate Express’ for Copenhagen

Published on 06/12/2009

Brussels -- European delegates Saturday boarded a special train dubbed the "Climate Express" in Brussels and headed for the crucial UN conference in Copenhagen which aims to reach a new global climate accord.

The passengers included negotiators for the governments of France, Belgium and Luxembourg who will be joined by their German counterparts in Cologne, organisers said.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told AFP he was "very optimistic" that the world’s nation could agree on an accord to combat global warming during the conference which opens Monday and runs to December 18.

Getting into the spirit of the "Climate Express,” van Ypersele sported a railroad conductor’s cap and the Belgian professor of climatology will answer journalists’ questions during the 12-hour journey as some of the train’s cars have been organised into workshops on climate issues.

The "Climate Express" is also delivering a message on modes of transport. A passenger is responsible for five times less carbon dioxide emissions travelling by train than by car.

For the trip from Brussels to Copenhagen, the train at full capacity will produce 14.2 kilos of CO2 emissions per passenger, compared to 43.6 kilos for a car and 82.4 kilos for a plane, according to the organisers, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union of Railways (UIC).

The "Climate Express" passengers also included environmental activists like Alison Gannett from Colorado, who made the trip from London to Brussels on foot.

"We have to save the snow which is the source of half of the world’s drinking water," said the American champion skier.

Other activists just came to wish the delegates a good trip, while they were taking even more environmentally friendly means to Copenhagen.

Miriam Morena of Spain is cycling to the Danish capital.

"I am very concerned about environmental issues, they are at the very heart of our lives," said the 24-year-old teacher from Barcelona.