Energy and Transportation in the Atlantic Basin

Date - 03 / 08 / 2017

Energy and Transportation in the Atlantic Basin

The Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) SAIS hosted the conference of the Jean Monnet Network Project on “Energy and Transportation in the Atlantic Basin: Implications for the European Union and Other Actors,” held on July 20-21, 2017 at the John Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advance International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C.

During the last decade, a nascent low carbon economy has begun to take shape across the world. The geographic center of gravity of this gathering momentum for ‘decarbonization’ — renewable energy rollout, for example — is increasingly taking root in Asia, particularly in China and India, for some time now the center of gravity of global energy demand (due almost exclusively to their rapid growth, magnified by their sheer size and scale).

However, the technological, policy and governance frontiers of the low carbon transformation are found in the West – in the Atlantic Basin — or in the broader Atlantic world: Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and North America. The cutting edge of innovation in low carbon technologies, infrastructures, finance, market and regulatory models and civil society action paradigms continues to unfold in the distinct yet mutually relevant ‘laboratories’ of the Atlantic world.

At this stage, the prospects for nearly or completely ‘decarbonizing’ the world’s power sectors by mid-century are relatively good. Indeed, most of the global effort so far has unfolded within the contemporary electricity world, where most decarbonization to date has been concentrated. Nevertheless, without a corresponding decarbonization effort in the multi-faceted global transportation sector, defending the 2-degree guardrail could be out of reach. The transportation sector accounts for over 15% of total global GHG emissions: it is the second largest source after the power sector (31%) and indeed is basically on par with the emissions produced from the totality of the land sectors (collectively known as AFOLU emissions: ie, agriculture, 10.5% and land-use and forestry, 6% of total global GHG gases in 2015).

The Atlantic Basin’s four ‘continental’ energy and transportations systems have each been configured within the respective limits imposed by their concrete geography and specific histories within their ‘continental’ spheres and, as such, are quite distinct from each other, and relatively independent and autonomous. Yet they are all linked by and through the maritime energy and transportation space of the Atlantic Basin.

This conference explored the drivers, dynamics and limit of this Atlantic Basin energy and transportation world, and mapped its contemporary technical, economic, social and political contours, along with possible and viable pathways to its future. Current status quo configurations (technical, geographic, policy) and business-as-usual trajectories of these five transportation regimes – four ‘continental’ terrestrial systems and one pan-Atlantic Basin maritime transportation system which links them together – examined, along with potential pathways in each which could be consistent with the Paris Accord’s objective to defend the 2-degree guardrail.

The discussion covered the following subjects: (1) the intellectual, technical, policy challenges raised by the imperative to displace gasoline and diesel with alternative fuels in both the passenger and cargo segments of the transportation; (2) the importance of the transportation of energy (as opposed to the ‘energy of transportation’), particularly the maritime transport of fossil fuels (oil, liquified natural gas and coal); (3) the role of infrastructure and policy configurations, particularly in the Atlantic Basin’s coastal cities and ports, in the low carbon transition; and (4) the impact of Atlantic geopolitics on the low carbon transition, along with the impact of the low carbon transition upon the geopolitics of the Atlantic space.


Kindly find  below the link to our Youtube video conference:




Please find attached the preliminary versions of the presentations, for use of the Network only. (citation not allowed).


Eloy Alvarez (Sustainable Mobility in EU)

Ernesto Monter (Supporting Decarbonization Efforts in LAC Transportation Sectors)

Gorham (Prospects for Decarbonization of African Transportation)

Joao Ribeiro (The Greening of Maritime Transportation, Energy and Climate Adaptation Infrastructure)

Jordi Bacaria and Natalia Soler-Huici (Impact of Atlantic Trade on Shipping Transport Emissions)

RA Kraemer (CoTransformation of Energy and Transportation in Wider Atlantic)

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