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2016 State of MARTA Breakfast to be headlined by thinker on energy, mobility

Tony Seba

Tony Seba, an international speaker on disruptive energy policy, is to headline MARTA's 2016 Annual Breakfast. Credit: tonyseba.com

By David Pendered

The speaker who headlines the 2016 State of MARTA breakfast is so focused on disruptive technology that he disrupted the Paris climate talks by saying talks about reducing carbon emissions don’t matter – because technology will end the use of fossil fuels by 2030.

Tony Seba

Tony Seba, an international speaker on disruptive energy policy, is to headline MARTA’s 2016 Annual Breakfast. Credit: tonyseba.com

Tony Seba predicts that the usage of coal, oil and gas will be all but obsolete by 2030. Maybe sooner, he has said recently.

Seba’s outlook resonates with the title of MARTA’s annual breakfast, scheduled for Jan. 7 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta-Midtown. The theme of the event is, MARTA Redefined. MARTA says the purpose is: “To provide an update on MARTA’s current and future initiatives and the role disruptive technologies – such as driverless cars – will play in the future of public transit.”

At the event, MARTA GM/CEO Keith Parker is slated to present the annual review of the system and to discuss future initiatives – perhaps to include expansion plans to the north and east, the service to Clayton County, and a possible transit tax being discussed by regional leaders who also want to focus on roadway expansion.

Seba’s remarks could be significant in this debate about a mobility tax.

Seba drew international headlines during the Paris climate talks. Seba’s views are opposed by critics of the proposals, including Elon Musk of the Tesla car company, who contends the agreement doesn’t go far enough to curb carbon emission. Seba countered that solar will leave fossil in its wake, making obsolete the need to curb carbon emissions.

Seba predicts in his 2014 book that the entire concept of mobility will evolve dramatically in the next 16 years because technology advances will obliterate fossil fuel and current notions of folks commuting to jobs and goods being transported to their destinations. Here are some of Seba’s predictions, as presented on his website:

  • Clayton Chairman Jeff Turner with MARTA CEO Keith Parker in Philadelphia (Photo by Maria Saporta)

    Clayton Chairman Jeff Turner (left) with MARTA CEO/GM Keith Parker in Philadelphia. File/Credit: Maria Saporta

    “Cities will undergo the most radical transformation since horses gave way to gasoline cars and electric streetcars.

  • “80 percent of parking space and highway space will be redundant.
  • “The construction and real estate industries will change dramatically.
  • “Taxis as we know them will be obsolete.
  • “Logistics as we know it will be obsolete.”

The predictions, along with assertions that solar power and electric vehicles will predominate by 2030, are laid out in Seba’s 2014 book titled, Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030.

Seba was interviewed for a story that appeared in an Australian website, reneweconomy.com.au. Here is a series of paragraphs from the story:

  • “When you look at the industry from a technology cost curve and the adoption of the market of technologies such as solar and electric vehicles, and energy storage, and the astonishing progress in self driving cars, it’s actually happening more quickly than I predicted.”
  • “Seba’s predictions are based around observations of what has occurred in other major technology breakthroughs – such as digital photos, the internet, mobile phones and then smart phones. Once costs fall below a certain point, the growth is both exponential and unstoppable.
  • “’In technology, those kind of adoption curves are not unusual,’ Seba says. “We went from film cameras to digital photos in a couple of years. What the resource-based industries don’t get is that technology adoption happens in an exponential manner. It never happens in linear fashion.
  • “So it may take a long time to get to a critical point. But once it does, it happens so quickly.”

Details: RSVP at http:bitly/som2016; tickets cost $37.92 each. The event social media hashtag is #MARTAredefined.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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