In 20 years, China could be one of the greenest countries in the world, says a leading figure in Britain's rail industry, "and expecting us to follow them".
Colin Walton, chairman of Bombardier Transportation UK, made the prediction at the recent Sustainable Transportation conference in London.
The company's Chinese joint venture Bombardier Sifang Transportation has won a number of orders to build trains for the country's rapidly-expanding network of high-speed lines, which are offering a viable alternative to air travel on many routes.
Walton asserted that the rail industry can provide the solution to challenges posed by five 'megatrends' facing the world: climate change, urbanisation and population growth, congestion, oil scarcity and rising energy prices, and the ageing of societies.
"Rail is the most sustainable solution for future mobility," he said. "It has major advantages in space, efficiency, energy consumption and reduced emissions"
Bombardier's rail division is also learning from the experience of the company's aircraft arm, Bombardier Aerospace, especially for ways of reducing the weight of trains and enhancing their aerodynamics. Both factors make an important contribution to reducing energy consumption.