- Posted 10 February 2008 inPublished 2 February 2008 by Sedona Biz (CA)
Even if we stop all emissions today we will still impact climate in the 22nd century - what communities can do now to adapt to the changes they will see in their climate. The international organization ICLEI can help communities choose their paths, as it did in Keene, NH, where several concrete goals were set to help the community protect itself from future uncertainties.
- Posted 8 February 2008 inPublished 7 February 2008 by Cleveland Daily Banner (TN)
How willl police budgets deal with rising fuel costs? This Tennessee county is discussing how their sheriff's department might cope with a budget shortfall for fuel and vehicle maintenance, without pulling from the county's general fund. Reducing patrols, reducing fleet sizes, eliminating vehicle take-home policies, and pulling money from other places are all mentioned.
- Posted 7 February 2008 inPublished 25 January 2008 by VerdeXchange
"Cities are where the action will be -- particularly as we learn to model the change we want to see in the world," says Ventura City Manager Rick Cole in this interview from VerdeXchange. While federal and state level actions get lots of attention, the local level is where most implementation happens. Rick Cole shares some words on how that process looks in Ventura.
- Posted 6 February 2008 inPublished 1 February 2008 by EnergyBiz Insider
In some cases around the country, cities are aggregating their businesses and households and buying renewable energy credits. Those 'certificates' guarantee the production of such things as wind generation, thereby facilitating the development of more sustainable energy generation. This is one way for cities to work within the market to encourage the use and development of renewable energy.
- Posted 5 February 2008 inPublished 15 January 2008 by New Urban NewsLand use and transportation planning are keys to making cities more resilient in the face of energy and climate uncertainty. But what might climate- and energy-smart communities look like, and what tools are available to help plan them? This article from New Urban News describes a technique for planning walkable neighborhoods, developed by Criterion Planners of Portland, Oregon and the US Natural Resources Defense Council. "My intent is to put the methodology in the public domain," says Eliot Allen of Criterion. "Climate change is too important to be proprietary."
- Posted 4 February 2008 inPublished 30 January 2008 by San Francisco Bay Guardian
"You have to be careful with peak oil that you don't immediately leap to 'We're all doomed and our economy is doomed,'" says San Francisco Peak Oil Task Force Chairperson Jeanne Rosenmeier. "I think there is an intermediate phase, which is what we are being asked to address: the transition from business as usual." San Francisco was the first city to pass a resolution recognizing the problem of peak oil; its task force is hard at work putting together a plan to deal with that problem.
- Posted 3 February 2008 inPublished 29 January 2008 by San Francisco Chronicle
City and county governments have the ability and opportunity to help California achieve its emissions reduction goals because they are the agencies responsible for creating local community land planning policy. Many cities and counties in Northern California have already done so with impressive results, and even more are following their lead.
Posted 3 February 2008 inPublished 3 February 2008 by The Mankato Free Press (Mankato, MN)
In January, I attended "Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty" presentations in the Twin Cities by Daniel Lerch, author of "Post Carbon Cities," and John Kaufmann of Oregon’s Department of Energy, representative to Portland Peak Oil Task Force.
Rep. Bill Hilty, chairman of the Energy Committee, is to be commended for attending the United States’ Association for the Study of Peak Oil and getting these experts to present to a Minnesota legislative hearing and meetings in four other cities.
- Posted 1 February 2008 inPublished 27 January 2008 by The New York Times
Shiny new green buildings with impressive waste reduction and energy efficiency features make the news, but probably more important is what happens with all of the existing building stock. The U.S. Green Building Council, creator of LEED certification, has developed a similar certification program for existing buildings called LEED-EB, of steps that can be undertaken without going through a "gut rehab."
- Posted 31 January 2008 inPublished 30 January 2008 by American Planning Association
In the U.S., a new Energy and Environment Block Grant program created by Energy Independence and Security Act provides for grants intended to reduce fossil-fuel emission and total energy use, as well as improve energy efficiency and conservation in the transportation and building sectors. Of the $2 billion in funding provided for such grants, 68 percent is distributed directly to counties and cities.
- Posted 30 January 2008 inPublished 29 January 2008 by the San Francisco Chronicle
The city's efforts to meet the mandate reached a milestone Monday when Berkeley officials gathered in front of the city's solar-powered nature center at the Berkeley Marina and released a 66-page Climate Action Plan, which Mayor Tom Bates called a road map for any community that wants to help avert the potentially devastating consequences of global warming.
- Posted 29 January 2008 inPublished 23 January 2008 by WorldChanging
Alex Steffen of WorldChanging on why developing low-emissions vehicles is nowhere near as important as developing more compact, efficient and livable cities. Focus on new automotive technologies can distract us from the much more effective strategy of building in less-consumptive ways.
- Posted 25 January 2008 inPublished 24 January 2008 by Office of Gov. Ted Kulongoski
According to Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, "global warming is already threatening Oregon’s economic prosperity and quality of life." On Jan 24, his office announced appointments to the Oregon Global Warming Commission and outlined his climate change package for the 2009 legislative session, which includes "Resources for state and local agencies to integrate climate change policy and analyze impacts of climate change on our water, forest, coastal and transportation resources."
Posted 24 January 2008 inPublished by Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN)
A community announcement for the presentation that Daniel Lerch and John Kaufmann gave in Rochester, MN. "You will hear presentations by two experts on Peak Oil and global warming and their effects on communities. They are John Kauffman, senior policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Energy's conservation division, and Daniel Lerch, program director for the Post Carbon Institute."
Posted 24 January 2008 inPublished by Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN)
A report from a presentation that Daniel Lerch and John Kaufmann gave in Rochester, MN. "adapting to the oil shortage will require difficult and painful adjustments for every community. Everything will be affected -- transportation, land use, business operations, local governments, food supplies, education, health care and many others."
- Posted 24 January 2008 inPublished by The Guardian (UK)
Cities and towns in the UK are recognizing the waste inherent in its centralized power system, in which "only 37% of a homeowner's utility bill actually goes to producing the energy itself." From recapturing waste heat in London to astounding carbon emissions cuts in Woking, new projects to generate energy near where it's to be used are underway.
- Posted 23 January 2008 inPublished 22 January 2008 by Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers (Florida)
Florida's suburban housing boom was fueled by low gas prices, and now those developments are hard-hit. While it's a little late for elected officials to put the brakes on far-flung projects that resemble ghost towns, local governments must start insisting on more sensible, less energy-consumptive models. These include mixed-use enclaves that combine work and home inside urban service boundaries, along with well-situated local transit grids that wean residents off single-occupant cars.
- Posted 22 January 2008 inPublished 29 December 2007 by Planning
If our civilization is in trouble, how can planning codes help? In this article from Planning, Chris Duerksen of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institutedescribes ways in which development codes can be potent tools for dealing with major issues: energy, environment, health and social justice.
- Posted 21 January 2008 inPublished by The Arizona Daily Star
Many of the most vulnerable members of communities will feel high energy prices in rising food costs. Food banks are already challenged to keep up with demand for more boxes, but they stress that the boxes are just stopgaps; conquering hunger will require more robust and resilient local food systems. "The new era we're entering is a more ecological approach to food, so it's more a theme of sustainability in light of climate change and peak oil and the economic realities that those things are driving."
- Posted 18 January 2008 inPublished by Plenty Magazine
From the first International Conference on Urban Sustainability (ICONUS) in Hong Kong, a report on some of the ideas that were shared. Two important threads: building social capital and public involvement can be critical to the success of a project, and renovation of existing stock has the potential to be much more sustainable than new building.
- Posted 17 January 2008 inPublished by The San Francisco Chronicle
The impressively green plans for San Francisco's planned new Public Utilities Commission building aren't just an example of the city showing the way and showcasing environmentally responsible technologies and techniques. They're also a sign of a building trend that's not just a fad; green building will remain an important theme in today's architecture because it's a response to a changing world.
- Posted 16 January 2008 inPublished by The Christian Science MonitorEnvironmentalists calculate that a new development in Maine's north woods could generate 500,000 tons of CO2 over 50 years, and are asking state regulators to keep these impacts in mind when considering the developer's zoning application. A huge piece of that emissions total is caused by the development's remote location, which would require residents to drive great distances regularly. This climate-change based challenge may be a first in the nation.
- Posted 15 January 2008 inPublished by voiceofsandiego.org
If mankind is going to overcome the challenge that climate change presents, cities will play an important role. Over 700 U.S. mayors have signed on to the Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement; while some are taking significant steps, other cities have done little more than sign on. They're in a challenging situation, having promised big changes in a small timeframe, but some see the agreement as having value even if they don't reach the goals before the planned-on date of 2012.
- Posted 14 January 2008 inPublished by The Peninsula Clarion
While many cities and towns have officially recognized climate change and are working on mitigation, the communities of Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska are among the first to look at adaptation in their plan. The Borough Assembly has approved the development of a climate change impact plan to assess their communities' vulnerabilities due to climate change.
- Posted 14 January 2008 inPublished by The New York Times
As heating oil prices continue to rise, more efficient geothermal climate control systems are becoming a popular choice for buildings like libraries. The new library in Ossining, NY has dramatically lower heating and cooling costs than it would with a conventional system because so much less energy is needed. The building's clean, energy-efficient system also serves as an example to the community.