Fuel management and consumption will be a key means to reduce GHG emissions, as fuel accounts for over 90% of NS’ scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, NS (NYSE: NSC) said when releasing its inaugural Climate Transition Plan (CTP) Thursday. Scope 1 emissions pertain to emissions directly from company operations while scope 2 emissions generally originate from sources not controlled by the company.

The CTP reflects NS’ plan to align its business strategy with the goals of the Paris Agreement as well as the broader push toward a low-carbon economy, according to a Thursday release. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change signed in December 2015 and implemented in November 2016, according to the United Nations.

The plan identified three performance indicators to reach NS’ objective:

Improve locomotive fuel efficiency by 13% by 2027, using a 2023 baseline.

Increase the use of renewable energy to 30% by 2030.

Increase the blend of biofuels in fuel to 7% in 2027 and 20% in 2034. To achieve this goal, NS will be piloting locomotive runs using higher biofuel blends and renewable diesel.

“Reducing the environmental impact of our operations is driven by our commitment to a cleaner and better planet for our employees, our customers, and our communities for generations to come,” Josh Raglin, NS chief sustainability officer, said in a release. “We recognize the significant role of greenhouse gas emissions in global climate change, and we are determined to do our part in mitigating these emissions.”

While NS focuses much of its attention on the fuel economy of locomotives, the rail carrier said it will be taking additional steps to reduce GHG emissions by:

Identifying physical risks to the network using machine vision-enabled inspection programs and AI-powered technology in safety inspection processes.

Diversifying its supply chain for assets such as wheels and steel mill gondolas.

Offsetting a portion of its electricity consumption with renewable energy sources.

Supporting partners’ sustainability efforts.

Investing in sustainability-related technologies such as carbon calculators and customer rail emission reports.

Continuing to assess ways to address climate risks and opportunities.

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Related links:

Norfolk Southern says higher costs will pay off in long term

US, Canada to form task force to get locomotive emissions to net zero

Sierra Club still sees rail as ‘a climate solution’

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