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Interim New Mobility comments, recommendations to Clinton Climate/Large Cities teams.

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  • Eric Britton
    We have to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 15 years. - William Jefferson Clinton, 1 August 2006 1. New Mobility
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2007

      “We have to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 15 years."  - William Jefferson Clinton, 1 August 2006


      1.         New Mobility support project in brief:


      Our open support project for the Clinton/Large Cities team has moved ahead over the last month, and here in two pages is the current state of play:


      1. The website at http://co2.newmobility.org is approx. 90% complete. Already a pretty useful read, but does need more input (including yours if you have a mind to share your thoughts with us on this).

      2. Neither of the two teams involved (Clinton, Large Cities) have in fact asked us to do anything in support of their challenging projects -- but we decided that with such a tight time horizon and such a truly great state of emergency, it would be irresponsible if we were not to share with them our carefully developed experience, insights and information on transformation strategies in the sector, with the thought that this is going to be of use to them. (Those of you who know The Commons and the New Mobility Agenda will not be surprised at such an initiative on our part.)

      3. Increasingly it becomes apparent that if we are to take the Clinton Climate Challenge at its full value -- remember 80% CO2 reductions over next 10-15 years – and not just put it aside and concentrate on other less exigent stuff because Clinton’s targets are not just convenient (think weasel words like “practical”, “realistic”) – this means we need to cut back on CO2 emissions on the order of 5-8 percent in the city as a whole over each year of the coming decade, starting in 2007. Clearly this means more than lots of good project ideas, but rather drags us hollering and spitting into a whole new dimension of policy and practice.

      4. I don’t know anything about the other sectors that the two teams are investigating, but I do know, with great certainty, that the CO2 objectives can be easily met in the transport sector. If you turn to the site you will see our arguments in this respect.

      5. Indeed one of the reasons that I have jumped on this project with both feet is that with President  Clinton’s high profile backing, we may now at long last have the hammer that will allow all of those of us who are concerned with the issues and process of sustainable transport and more specifically the New Mobility Agenda finally to get these issues and trade-offs into the very high level of International visibility that is necessary if the new models and new patterns of behavior can finally start to be brought on line. The mere fact that the Clinton approach is based on politics, vision, leadership and communications rather than technical considerations or the usual cautious bureaucracy provides us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to start to make these changes of which the leading edge of policy and practice in the field has been aware for years finally take place. 

      II.         Our Zero CO2 Brainstorming Conferences


      1. We want to encourage the use of technology to reduce unnecessary travel, which in a project like this where problems and resources are by definition to hugely spread out, it strikes us that there is no option but to put these technologies to work. Every day. After all, it is an emergency, isn’t it? (Or do I have that wrong?)

      2. You can find out more about these if you go to http://newmobility.org/agenda.htm  (For the record, we have been working with a whole range of technologies on this over the last decade, with our first Zero Emissions Strategy Conference taking place in August 1997 – see http://www.ecoplan.org/zero-ems/index.htm.)

      3. We have played around with the latest Skypecast package over the last few days and just this morning had a little meeting in which the following agenda items were discussed by the group. It was the first such event that was properly focused and useful. You will see the agenda items discussed in the following little annex. (In the future we will record these exchanges and if time allows to edit them down to their essentials, but for now this note will have to do.)

      4. And while the discussions were lively and fruitful, even this short list has far from being exhausted. In fact, I would like it to take taken, improved and discussed in many other places – including BTW in this forum which after all has been created exactly for such purposes.


      III.        International Advisory Council


      1. At the time we set up the framework for the Kyoto World Cities cooperative program in late 2004 (see http://kyotocities.org) we contact some 150 of our colleagues working to advance understanding and practice of these issues and invited them to show their support for the International Advisory Council, the present composition of which you can see at http://ecoplan.org/briefs/general/panel.htm.

      2. These are outstanding personalities and leaders in the field, and of course in each case we sought their permission to include their names as supporters in the tough fight for sustainable development and social justice in the transport field. Two quick things about this listing if you will.

      3. First, since the momentum is finally picking up considerably in our shared field, it is now time to expand this group greatly. These shared values, links, and eventual working relationships are going to be important as the push is on, so now is the time to expand the group (which I have neglected to do badly over the last year). And while we are as always interested to have established figures in the field leading the way, we also have a strong preference to bring as many young people with proven commitment, as well as women (far too few to date) and of course to continue to ensure the very broad geographic distribution. So you counsel on this will be most welcome.

      4. Also if for some reason you no longer share the goals and values of the New Mobility projects, well it would be good if you would let me know so that I can sure that our listing continues to be one hundred percent solid. This is no time for ambiguity.

      5. As to your nominations, it would be good to have their basic contact information along with a line or two on their work and approach. Thanks

      *           *           *


      So that’s where things pretty much stand at this point, so let me close with the following query for you:


      • It is either an emergency or it is not. If it’s just a "kind of emergency", what the hell –we can propose just about anything we want. But if it is – and we know that President Clinton thinks it is, and now you know that I do too, and I know as well that many of you here share this view --  then this probably changes just about everything. And are you ready for that?


      With all good wishes


      Eric Britton





      “We have to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 15 years."  - William Jefferson Clinton, 1 August 2006


      Annex: Agenda for 13 February Zero CO2 conference:


      Here is our current checklist of some of the key issues that it would be good to have your comments on today. in reaction to President Clinton’s challenge. Perhaps we could take them in order?


      1. What is your reaction to President Clinton’s call for an 80% reduction of CO2 generation in cities over the next 10-15 years?  What words would you use to describe this as a goal?


      1. In your view is it possible that the transport sector in most “cities” could be made to achieve, say, 5-8% reductions annually over, say, the next 3-5 years?


      1. What is wrong with CO2 as a policy target? 


      1. When you succeed in achieving major reductions in CO2, are there any other good things that start to take place in the city’s transport arrangements? What are these?


      1. And do we not have to be careful in using the word “cities” in this context? Isn’t it the contiguous metropolitan areas that pose the real challenge (and quite different ones from those faced in tight urban cores where things are potentially a lot easier)?


      1. Are there any cities (i.e., contiguous metropolitan areas) in the world that today are already achieving significant bottom line reductions in CO2 generation, and in particular with reference to the transport sector?


      1. Are there any cities which have started to “break pattern” and as such start to provide proof that New Mobility policies are worth targeting and achieving through aggressive lists of projects and measures to start at least to control the situation?  And if so, should they be our models for the rest, or rather seen as a potentially instructive starting point with a great deal that must follow if they are to provide examples and inspirations for others.


      1. Is it possible to achieve the level of  CO2 reductions that the Clinton program asks for, by means other than make making drastic reductions in traffic?  And what kind of traffic, say type vehicles,  must be reduced?


      1. How do you deal with the fact that what you need to find a way to influence and shape in this case is not a couple of bits of new technology that are somehow (Deus ex machina) going to take the problems off our hands as individual citizens, but rather the millions, billions of personal choices that each of us make for their own reasons when it comes to getting around each day?


      1. How would you describe in a phrase what is needed to meet the Clinton challenge?  Would  “major paradigm change” be a possible candidate? What about “managing chaos”? Your phrase? Might  we discuss?

      2. Can achievements on this scale be achieved on a “business as usual” and “politics as usual” basis?  Or do we have to start to break all the rules?

      3. What do you advise the two teams to be doing next?






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