Smaller cities have a distinctive and vital role to play in the work of the new century: they will be critical in the move to local agriculture and the development of renewable energy industries. Their underused or vacant industrial space and surrounding tracts of farmland make them ideal sites for sustainable land-use policies, or "smart growth." (This article quotes Post Carbon Cities author Daniel Lerch.)
The post-World War II economy has experienced its share of crises, and each time the economy has rebounded and gone on to bigger and faster global growth. But something different happened last summer -- and we're not diagnosing the problem correctly, and we're not pursuing the correct solutions. We've essentially failed to recognize that the game has changed.
To build the resilience of communities against coming changes in global oil supply, urban planners and policymakers will need to turn to more systems-informed approaches to community governance and development.
Oil production could peak by 2010. What does that mean for your community? An article by Daniel Lerch, featured in the December 2008 issue of Planning magazine.
2008 saw a flurry of new government responses to peak oil, plus groundbreaking legislation in California. Also, the oil price spike, the intensifying global recession, and the historic US presidential election have all helped create a sea change in our thinking about energy and what it means for the economy.
This study by Warren Karlenzig, author of How Green Is Your City?: The SustainLane City Rankings, ranks the largest 50 US cities by their readiness for $4+ a gallon gas and $100+ barrel oil prices. It considers a variety of factors, including city resident public transit use, city carpooling rates, metro public transit ridership, metro area sprawl, telecommuting, biking and walking-to-work rates, and use of heating oil. This is an update of the May 2008 report.
Daniel Lerch on our enduring relationship with the personal automobile, and the potential for a less car-dependent California. Written for the Sacramento Bee's The Conversation.
"Climate change is the greatest environmental crisis that humanity has ever faced, but it is not the only serious challenge confronting us. There is a simultaneous 'source' problem, known as peak oil, arising from the depletion of the fuels we are burning, particularly petroleum," said Richard Heinberg. The Post Carbon Institute's comprehensive 10-point plan will help the United States reach Vice President Al Gore's goal of 100% renewable energy in 10 years.
This excerpt of Daniel Lerch's presentation at the Spirit of Red Hill Valley 2007 lecture in Hamilton, Ontario, categorizes some of the short and long term challenges that peak oil will present to local governments. A good introduction for colleagues who may have heard of peak oil but don't associate it with local issues.
It may be June, but Vermont's Governor and legislature are planning for the potential emergency when high fuel prices and low temperatures coincide this coming winter. The Governor has created the Vermont Fuel and Food Partnership and established a Cabinet-level task force. The state legislature has called an emergency home heating meeting of the Joint Fiscal Committee, all in recognition that plans need to be made for the state's needs sooner rather than later.