Post Carbon Cities Blog
- Posted 1 March 2009 in
As part of recent changes at Post Carbon Institute, I will no longer be posting to this blog. You can find my new posts on the postcarbon.org blog.
- Posted 9 February 2009 in
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.
- Posted 7 January 2009 in
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.
- Posted 24 December 2008 in
Like many places, Portland, Ore. is seeing a lot of snow -- snow it's largely unprepared for. But despite the county's declared state of emergency, those in walkable neighborhoods are actually doing pretty well. Unusual conditions lend a special, festive air to everything, encouraging acts of play and goodwill. Post Carbon Cities will be on break through January 4. We wish you and your community resilience and joy in the New Year.
- Posted 23 December 2008 in
An ever-increasing number of people are interested in growing food close to home or buying food that is produced nearby. New business models are springing up, land use priorities are changing. This interest in local food can be tonic to local food security, and its encouragement can be an important part of any locality's preparation for peak oil.
- Posted 16 December 2008 in
Though it's been around for longer, the Transition Towns initiative really blossomed as an international movement this year with the release of the Transition Handbook. In its home country, the United Kingdom, Transition activities led to several peak oil related resolutions (as well as a host of non-governmental community developments, like the creation of local currency). This year, the idea leapt the pond, taking root in the United States with the formation of Transition United States.
- Posted 9 December 2008 in
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.
- Posted 4 December 2008 in
Oil production is up, but prices are back to 2005 levels. You might think this means the pressure's off on peak oil. But a closer look at what's actually happening -- and what the peak oil concept says about the real long-term constraints on oil supplies -- reveals the low prices will actually create more problems, and sooner.
- Posted 20 November 2008 in
'Combined heat and power' (CHP) plants and 'district heating' systems have been around for well over a hundred years. And yet, only a handful of modern cities and towns have made use of these highly efficient technologies until very recently. Now that we've rediscovered CHP and district heating, what role will they play in retrofitting our economies to rely on local energy?
- Posted 18 November 2008
Certainly people will want to stay in their own cozily-heated homes for the winter. But if energy prices make that economically infeasible for individuals, it's bound to also be a stretch for local governments. Towns that want to be effective in helping need to look beyond financial heating assistance for homeowners and instead harness the resources they have.
- Posted 28 October 2008 in
Chemical emergency. Dam Failure. Earthquake. Fire. Flood. Hazardous Material emergency. Heat emergency. Hurricane. Landslide. Nuclear emergency. Terrorism. Thunderstorm. Tornado. Tsunami. Volcano. Wildfire. Winter Storm. A scary list, but it's too late for Halloween, so what is it?
- Posted 21 October 2008 in
Renewable energy has emerged as a serious issue among politicians at all levels in the United States. Peak oil is a different story, however. Federal, state and local leaders will continue to misunderstand the energy crisis we face if they ignore the new energy production constraints of the 21st century.
- Posted 14 October 2008 in
With oil $60 cheaper today than it was in July, you might think economic recovery and increased global oil production are right around the corner. Not so, says peak oil author Richard Heinberg, who argues that cheaper oil is actually part of the problem -- and that it's all downhill from here for oil and the global economy
- Posted 8 October 2008 in
Policies are choices. We can choose to set policy as if we're still in a world of cheap oil, or we can choose to set policies more appropriate for the new and very real and world of energy and climate uncertainty. For most people that means electing government leaders who understand peak oil, and letting them figure out what exactly to do about it. As people who work in government know, however, it takes more than winning on Election Day to change policy.
- Posted 2 October 2008
How can planners and elected officials address incredibly complex issues like peak oil and global warming while juggling multiple stakeholders, competing priorities and limited resources? Some thoughts on talking about complexity in a world of soundbites and short attention spans.
- Posted 22 September 2008
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.
- Posted 18 September 2008 in
Academic thinking about sustainability has progressed quite a bit since the days of the Brundtland Commission and the Earth Summit. Our practice of sustainability, however, has lagged. With global warming and peak oil at our doorstep, we have no time to waste to turn theory into practice.
- Posted 18 September 2008 in
Colleges and universities can be powerful social actors, with their large populations, research facilities, and significant budgets. How are they acting with respect to climate and energy issues?
- Posted 15 September 2008 in
- Posted 5 September 2008 in
Rutgers University planning school Dean James W. Hughes recently imparted two essential lessons about planning and the economy in the 21st century. First, resource constraints and reduced consumption are the future. And second, distance matters again.