Energy and Transportation, 2015-2020: A Different Perspective

France IFP Schoool class

Working notes for June 5th Master Class presentation to the IFPEN-School Paris

Summary: The thesis of this presentation is (a) that the combinations of technologies, operations and institutional arrangements which today define the transport sector are so grossly inefficient, inappropriate and so thoroughly locked into the system, that only a major paradigm change will be capable of shaking them up.  Our unexpected good luck is (b) that such a tectonic pattern change is currently in full swing.  However, as often happens, they are not broadly spotted or understood.  And (c) this opens up an unexpected and most welcome opportunity.

There can be no doubt that (d) our uppermost public policy target today has to be the planetary emergency (global warming, resource depletion and species extinctions).  Tragically (e) the reality of present practices is that this message has still to get through. Under these circumstances the imperative first step is to become aware of it and then to seek its implications, which is in fact the goal of this presentation.

In the case of our sector, (f) the critical link between transport and climate is energy, and this from two strategic perspectives. First (g) the enormous and as yet largely untapped potential for major near-term advances, at relatively low cost.  Even more decisive is the enormous near-term potential of the transition from fossil fuels to renewables in the transport sector.  This is the lifeline of the future of our planet, no less.  And the message should be taken to the December UN COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Presentation derived from the author’s work in progress on a forthcoming book, “Convergence: Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, which is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, peer reviews, workshops and media events over 2015.  The author welcomes critical comments and suggestions on any part of this presentation

In-process presentation outline:

Transportation, Energy and the New Mobility Paradigm: 2015-2020


  1. Do we have a problem?
  2. The Big Sleep – 1975-2015 – and its exorbitant costs
  3. Beg pardon, but what is an “Uber”?
  4. Happy Birthday Dr. Moore
  5. Convergence: Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities


  1. Mobility in an Age of Turbulence
  2. Gross Systemic Inefficiency
  3. Failure to Serve the Transportation Majority
  4. Playing around with the environment
  5. The Role of the car in the city (it’s not about to go away)
  6. Unaddressed fossil fuel dependence, and their high costs
  7. The Old Mobility Energy Quest: Systems, Engines, Fuels, TDM


  1. The World Climate Emergency: Start Here!
  2. No time to wait
  3. The Climate/Transport/Energy Vector
  4. Kuhn’s Paradigm Shift
  5. New Mobility Paradigm: The Seven Building Blocks
  6. Key actors shaping the paradigm change
  7. Potential advantages of the new paradigm
  8. Potential threats/problems
  9. World Cities Showing the Way
  10. Citizens Mobility Forum


* Why I am Reasonably Optimistic about the Sustainability Transition for 2015-2020

# # #

This will be followed by an afternoon presentation by Dr. Robert Ayers, Exernomics: On Energy, Economy and Growth. See Further details on presentation to follow here.

# # #
About the IFPEN School:

The Institut Français du Pétrole Énergies Nouvelles – –  is a public-sector research and training center. It has an international scope, covering the fields of energy, transport and the environment. IFPEN focuses on:

  • providing solutions to take up the challenges facing society in terms of energy and the climate, promoting the emergence of a sustainable energy mix;
  • creating wealth and jobs by supporting French and European economic activity, and the competitiveness of related industrial sectors.

The IFP School  – –  trains high-level professionals who can respond to today’s and tomorrow’s energy challenges, thus satisfying the needs of the energy and transportation sectors. It is orgnaized into four Centers representing the technical skills specific to the various programs:

– Exploration-Production
– Refining, Petrochemicals, Gas
– IC Engines and Hydrocarbon Utilizations
– Economics and Management.

 The present seminar is organised by their Center for Economics and Management.

# # #

About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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2 thoughts on “Energy and Transportation, 2015-2020: A Different Perspective

  1. Have I misunderstood you ? It seems you are saying that the prime ingredient for progress is a transition from fossil fuel powered cars to renewable powered cars. Our cities, and indeed smaller communities, will never be decent places to live in unless we can get rid of cars as the dominant means of personal mobility.

    • As about always you are right Simon. But in fact there are two separate issues we need to deal with in a democratic society. First, to take a strategic approach to removing some very high portion of ALL private cars from the traffic stream. We now have learned pretty well how to do that. But we also need a strategy to convert all moving vehicles from fossil fuels to renewables.

      No rest for the weary.


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