Climate emisssions mobility rapid cuts = The Guardian 5 Dec 2018

The power of a new mobility concept depends not on how well it solves a given, targeted problem. But on how many problems it (partly) solves. –   Marco Te Brömmelstroet


  • Eric Britton,Convener, World Streets Climate Initiative, Paris. 27 June 2019

Dear friends, colleagues, planners, policy makers, students, professors, people working with local government, engineers, accountants, and above all those of you as active citizens and participants in civil society, whom I have met, not met, collaborated, swapped ideas with, argued, modifying my position and then arguing some more . . . Because as you and I know well, nothing ever stays fixed and final in the world of transport and mobility.

Okay. It’s my birthday and here from this end is the state of play in World Streets and my own work program for the year(s) ahead. It all started one year ago to the day. A brief look back:

When you turn eighty, I can guarantee that it is likely that you are not going to be around for eighty more, . . .  So, it’s a good occasion to take stock and figure out where one might go from here.

And as I was pondering how I might best reorganize for my future work; the conundrum of Sir Isaiah Berlin came to mind. You remember? “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows but one big thing.” Okay, if I now must tighten my focus – after years of being a fox – best I now find and concentrate on that one big thing. Which in our case in this chaotic and out of control 21st century has to be climate.  More than that, the World Climate Emergency.

Fair enough, but what could I do to make a difference? Well as it happens, I have long worked in the world of ideas, needs, hopes, conflicts, plans, strategies, policies and implementation in one sector: namely how people get around for better or worse in their day-to-day lives. We call it “mobility”, and beyond that single word the fascinating challenge of creating and implementing a New Mobility Agenda.

Now for the record, taking our definition of mobility, our slice accounts for roughly 10% of total world greenhouse gas emissions. That is not trivial. Happily, with half a century of hands-on experience in the field in cities around the world we have much to build on

So now what? What about a Challenge?  A Climate Challenge. A Five Percent Climate Challenge? Hmm. It’s my birthday so hang on and let’s take a quick look at how this might work.


The World Climate Emergency & the New Mobility Action Plan
Learning by Doing & Collaborative Problem Solving: 2019-2020

CONCEPT NOTES (working draft of Thursday, June 27, 2019)

  1. CLIMATE: The greatest challenge civilization faces today is that of dealing with the unrelenting, unmet, ever-accelerating nightmare of climate chaos. A battle we are losing, fast!
  2. TARGET: The day-to-day mobility sector accounts for ca. ten percent of all GHG emissions threatening our planet. That’s a huge target! And it happens to be right in the middle of our skill set. (For more on that see http://bit.ly/2QBKhHb)
  3. OUTREACH: Given the high emergency, there is every reason to encourage ready-to-go alternative approaches to the dire need of reducing emissions, significantly and quickly. We have one ready.
  4. WHY FIVE PERCENT? (a) Because we have your attention. And (b) because we know you can do it.5. OPEN PROJECT: This challenge project is an open collaborative being shaped by the invited participants. All communications, materials, content, tools, results posted online, wide open for comment, and shaped together from the beginning
  5. START: Challenge project getting underway: (a) Climate/Space/Mobility 2020 Action Plan (http://bit.ly/2SGXWNu, and (b) The 2019 Five Percent Challenge (https://wp.me/psKUY-5AO)
  6. July-DEC. 2019: Watching brief, research, peer reviews, public presentations, contacts/discussions with eventual partners, contributors, sponsors, cities, rural communities . . . (and the list goes on.)
  7. INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL brings world level oversight, expertise & experience to the project – see http://bit.ly/2wc09as(Being updated)
  8. READERS: Where do our ca. 15k W/S readers come from – http://bit.ly/2DxcYjx (149 countries)
  9. TOOLKIT: First taste of powerful tools, measures and strategies ready to be put to work — http://bit.ly/2VUsbkR
  10. TEST CASE: Learn from hotly contested Transport Master Plan Audit in Penang, Malaysia: Penang.NewMobility.org
  11. FAILURE? And if we fail this first time? Well, fail early, learn by doing, charge ahead, don’t hesitate, don’t worry, share widely and openly — and from there move on to something better – https://wp.me/psKUY-5Ar
  12. INVITATION. . . to join the 5% Challenge – Drop a line to Climate@NewMobility.org And make your grandchild proud.


STEAL THIS IDEA! It is our firm hope that this open collaborative project will not only bring some much-needed fresh ideas to the table, but that others will come in with their own hopefully even better ideas, skills, projects and resources. World Streets stands ready to follow, support and report on this wave of new thinking and action as best we can. Courage!  It’s our only brave choice.

# # #

About the convener of World Streets 2020 Five Percent Challenge

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 | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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