The world is starting to be affected by the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil, but many involved in transportation planning are looking the other way. Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl say that planning around airport development is folly for cities.
In early 2008, the NACo Green Government Initiative launched this searchable database of county green programs, policies, plans, staff descriptions and more. Meant to be a comprehensive resource on all things green for counties, NACo continually seeks submissions in any of the below green categories from counties throughout the country.
United by the fact that climate change poses a major long-term challenge to delivering high-quality drinking water, eight of the nation’s largest water agencies announced the formation of an unprecedented coalition, the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA). The alliance will work to improve research into the impacts of climate change on water utilities, develop strategies for adapting to climate change and implement tactics to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Stormwater tunnels under Minnesota's Twin Cities, mostly built with unreinforced concrete or masonry, collect storm water from streets and rooftops and take it to the Mississippi River. Increased urban runoff and heavy rains frequently fill some tunnels to capacity, creating pressures they weren't designed to handle. With greater demands expected due to climate-change weather patterns, this aged infrastructure is a looming, though unseen, problem.
South Africa has been experiencing energy crises for the past few weeks due to insufficient generator capacity and other problems. Among the problems in urban Johannesburg is traffic confusion, which causes pollution and economic losses. The national Central Energy Fund has determined that the economic impact merits an immediate investment in retrofitting traffic lights ("robots") in Johannesburg with solar panels.
This weekend I took a pleasant train trip from Portland to Seattle to visit with family for Christmas. For me, the travel itself was one of the most enjoyable facets of a very full weekend. Both passenger and freight rail traffic have been increasing as fuel costs soar, making it clear that a functional rail system will be a real asset in an energy uncertain future.
University of Alberta's Robert Cheng is working on technologies that will allow structures to communicate otherwise invisible information about the stresses they are subjected to, allowing engineers greater ability to build and repair appropriately. "My goals include extending the useful life of structures, greatly reducing maintenance costs, and cutting the need to regularly replace or refurbish infrastructure projects," Dr. Cheng says. "The simple fact is that going forward, we will not have the resources to continue doing things the way we have for the past 50 years."
Record-setting rainstorms such as those that have recently deluged the Northwest are likely to become more common due to climate change, according to a report from the organization Environment Washington. Dealing with downpours in cities like Seattle requires both city-level infrastructure change and individual actions.
Queensland, Australia's Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation talks with Global Public Media's Andi Hazelwood about departmental changes in response to climate and energy challenges, the public release of his government-commissioned report on "Queensland's Vulnerability to Oil Prices," and the importance of relocalisation in the face of oil depletion.
As local governments take the lead in climate protection, a new tool is available to help them rapidly advance green buildings, neighborhoods and infrastructure. Called the "Playbook," this web-based resource shows how strategic actions in these sectors promote economic development, build healthier communities, strengthen energy independence, and support climate protection.