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Newsletter #5, November 2007

Newsletter #5, November 2007

Post Carbon Cities :: Newsletter #5, November 2007


  1. Post Carbon Cities Fall book tour wraps up
  2. PCC launches weekly blog
  3. Group functionality and January tours
  4. Local and State/Provincial Actions
  5. Oil prices - uncertainty embodied
  6. Post Carbon Cities welcomes Laurel Hoyt


1. Post Carbon Cities Fall book tour wraps up

Last week Post Carbon Cities Program Manager Daniel Lerch wrapped up his five-week Northeastern book tour to promote Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty, our new guidebook for local governments in the U.S. and Canada. Daniel's whirlwind tour hit 14 different cities in the northeastern United States and Canada, including over 30 events such as public presentations, meetings with local citizen groups, and meetings with local officials and staff. Highlights of the tour included:

  • Presentation to city staff in Montréal, Québec
  • Meeting with Brattleboro (Vermont) Regional Peak Oil Task Force
  • Presentation to city staff in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Public presentation in Providence, Rhode Island
  • Meetings with local groups in Central Massachusetts
  • Presentations and meetings in New York City
  • Presentation and workshop for regional planners in Philadelphia

The response to the tour has been very positive. The city of Providence alone ordered 50 copies of Post Carbon Cities following Daniel's visit, and peak oil interest in New England overall is so strong that we're planning on organizing a Post Carbon Cities conference there in Spring 2008, in partnership with local citizen groups and city officials. Read more about the tour in Daniel's posts to the Post Carbon Cities blog, and visit for more information or to order the book. Also, watch for video of some of Daniel's presentations, which we'll post in the next few weeks.

2. PCC launches weekly blog

Post Carbon Cities has a weekly blog! Inaugurated with posts from the East Coast tour, the blog will soon expand in scope to provide up-to-date commentary and analysis of developments in city responses to energy and climate uncertainty. We will also soon feature guest posts from your colleagues working in and for local government.

Check in weekly; or, if you use an RSS newsreader, subscribe to the Post Carbon Cities blog RSS feed. (You can subscribe to all Post Carbon Cities updated content with our Compiled feed.)

3. Coming in 2008: Online discussion groups, and Winter Tour

There are a couple of "next big things" coming up for the Post Carbon Cities program. On the website front, we're launching "online groups" in January: secure, invitation-only forums for discussions, collaboration and file-sharing. We're providing this functionality in response to rising demand for online collaboration space from groups like the Brattleboro (Vermont) Regional Peak Oil Task Force (an ad hoc government-citizen committee) and the Twin Cities Peak Oil Study Group (an informal group of local and state staff) -- and it will also be a great way for you to share experiences and questions with your professional colleagues around the world. Look for the launch of online groups in our next newsletter.

Also starting in January, Daniel will start the next phase of the Post Carbon Cities book tour, with appearances tentatively planned in California and the Pacific Northwest. We'll post tour details to as they become available.

4. Local and State/Provincial Actions

In the last few months, energy uncertainty task forces have wrapped up their work in Oakland (CA) and started up in Austin (TX) and San Francisco. Post Carbon Cities has supplied copies of Post Carbon Cities to energy uncertainty task forces in Austin (TX), San Francisco, Brattleboro (VT) and Warminster Township (PA). These groups are working to assess their communities' vulnerabilities and resources in preparation for energy uncertainty. If your community is thinking of establishing an energy uncertainty task force, please let us know and we'll connect you to the growing body of resources available to help you. And be sure to take a look at our regularly-updated list of local government responses to energy uncertainty in the US and Canada.

We're also starting to see activity at higher levels of government. In Connecticut, the new Legislative Peak Oil and Natural Gas Caucus held a hearing on peak oil at the state legislature on November 1st. State leaders heard from experts including Tom Whipple and Sally Odland of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, Charley Maxwell of Weeden & Co, and John Kaufmann of the Oregon Department of Energy. The Caucus also released a report exploring the likely impacts of peak oil on Connecticut, concluding that "The state is unprepared to address the problems that will arise ... Connecticut is at risk of economic contraction beyond anything we have experienced since the 1930s." The report includes a series of recommendations for the state to undertake, including establishment a statewide peak oil task force. Read the report on the Post Carbon Cities website.

Finally, check out this recently-posted Global Public Media interview with Queensland's new Minister for Sustainability Andrew McNamara on the release of his report about Queensland's vulnerability to high oil prices.

5. Oil prices - uncertainty embodied

With oil prices inching ever-closer to the iconic $100 barrel, there's a lot of angst and many predictions in the air. While no one can be sure what exactly the future holds, it's also not reasonable to simply sit back and do nothing. More and more major players --from OPEC to the EIA-- are hinting that prices aren't going to go down; so regardless of the justification, cities need to prepare. Everything from heating oil to food will be impacted.

A few relevant items from the last month:

The peak oil crisis: our government is speaking
Published 14 November 2007 by Falls Church News-Press (VA)
The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration announced bad news on the fuel front. The announcement, predicting that gasoline prices are due to go up another 20 cents a gallon in the next few weeks, has been reported on widely. But the real message to take from this announcement is that the EIA is seeing, and starting to report, a real change in the oil markets.
Q & A with Julian Darley
Published 1 October 2007 by Urban Land
Charles Lockwood interviews Post Carbon Institute President Julian Darley about peak oil and what it means for the shape of human settlement. From the October edition of Urban Land, published by the Urban Land Institute.
Peak oil production is in sight; U.S. is unprepared
Published 10 November 2007 by The Independent (UK)
It is surprising that the world economy has managed to carry on growing strongly despite the recent rise in oil prices. There's growing recognition of the finite limits to global oil production, but also growing demand that probably can't be offset by efficiencies in developed countries. While it's hard to connect the current US economic slump with oil prices, the impact of rising prices will be felt sooner or later.
Establishing a peak oil task force
We've just posted our guide for establishing and running an energy depletion task force -- excerpted from Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty. Remember, you can also download an abridged copy of Post Carbon Cities, which includes the task force how-to and more, at

6. Post Carbon Cities welcomes Laurel Hoyt

We're pleased to announce the addition of Laurel Hoyt to our staff! Laurel has taken over as Editor of the Post Carbon Cities website, posting daily news, resources, events and commentary on the challenges cities face with peak oil and climate change; she is also providing research, website, writing and administrative support for the Post Carbon Cities program overall. Prior to joining Post Carbon, Laurel was the Education Coordinator of Free Geek, where she helped this collectively-managed computer recycling and computer training non-profit grow into a national model for community-based technology centers.

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Post Carbon Cities: Helping local governments understand and respond to the challenges of peak oil and global warming.
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