Significant modal shifts from private road and air travel towards railways can help the EU achieve its target of a 40% cut in climate-warming emissions by 2020, according to a new report.

Nearly 80% of intra-EU flights under 1,000km should switch to rail, says the report conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe.

The passenger cars’ share of transportation should drop from around 75% in 2010 to 69% in 2020 and 43% in 2050, while passenger rail should increase from 8% to 14% in 2020 and 35% in 2050.

The study, aimed to describe a possible pathway among many for the EU to realise the set emission cut targets of 40% by 2020 and 90% in 2050, also calls for doubling the EU rail network by 2050 and full rail electrification by 2030.

Increasing use of road and planes over railway is a key reason for the rising CO2 emissions by the transport sector, which accounted for 32% of the EU’s CO2 emissions in 2010, the report said.