Further development of the climate target
We aim to be climate-neutral as early as 2040. This decision, which we made in the first half of 2021, means that we have brought the previous target forward by ten years. This puts our target year well ahead of the target year set by the Federal Government of 2045 for the climate neutrality of Germany.
In order to achieve this objective, we will be powering our plants, stations and office buildings in Germany with 100% eco-power from 2025. In addition, we will make our heating supply “green” and gradually replace fossil fuels such as heating oil and natural gas. Increased energy efficiency is also expected to reduce consumption.
We are also emitting fewer greenhouse gases thanks to much younger train fleets in long-distance, regional and freight transport, as well as capital expenditures in green technologies. We are continuing to advance our ongoing activities to develop and use alternative drive units and fuels. Technology-independent pilot projects, together with partners from industry, are also focusing on greener local transport on road and rail. Plans include changing DB Regional Bus’s bus fleet to one that uses more climate-friendly fuels, constructing new infrastructure for battery-powered trains, supplying hydrogen for fuel cell trains, and using alternative fuels on road and rail.
Digitalizing the rail industry and upgrading technical equipment, such as for maintenance, will also have a positive impact on our carbon footprint.
Climate resilience strategy
We are preparing for future extreme weather conditions with our climate resilience strategy. A key basis for the Group-wide package of measures is a study we commissioned to be conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung; PIK). For the study, the PIK analyzed weather data from 1961 to 2020, and using the results made projections on possible climate developments for the period 2031 to 2060.
The second and latest PIK study conducted for DB Group shows detailed forecasts of specific weather conditions in 34 transport regions for the first time. As a result, Germany is expected to have significantly more heatwaves and heavy rainfall but fewer sub-zero days in the winter. We are using this scientific data to develop a sound resilience strategy and, above all, prepare our infrastructure, vehicles and stations to an even greater extent so that they can withstand the impact of climate change more effectively. Our goal is to make our rail services more weatherproof.
We adopted a number of specific measures following the first PIK climate study (2018), making ourselves better-equipped to respond to the effects of climate change. One example is the ramping up of vegetation maintenance on the tracks. With more personnel, greater expertise, digital tools and expenditures of € 125 million annually, we have now become more weatherproof. Storm damage caused by trees has fallen by about 25% since 2018.
We have already prepared our rolling stock, such as the ICE 4, which is equipped to withstand outside temperatures up to 45 ⁰ C. Older series are being completely overhauled so that they can be used for longer, and they are being fitted with climate-resilient systems.