Warren Karlenzig

Fellow, Urban Sustainability


Warren Karlenzig, President of Common Current, has developed sustainability strategy and metrics on a global basis with nations, the State of California, major cities, corporations, foundations and international non-governmental organizations. Clients have included the United Nations; US Department of State; the White House Office of Science and Technology; US EPA Futures Group; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability; and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. He is recognized as one of the world's top experts on urban sustainability strategy and metrics, and is the author of How Green is Your City? The SustainLane US City Rankings (New Society, 2007) and Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing (Global Green USA, 1999).

Warren is on the board of directors for the Climate Change Center and the Korea Green Foundation, and has lectured in three continents, appearing in global media including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, People's Daily (China), BBC, CNN and CNBC.


Collective Intelligence--Cities as Global Intelligence Platform

length: 15:56   credit: TEDx   Aug 28, 2012

Post Carbon Institute Fellow Warren Karlenzig delivers at TEDx.

Social media and collaborative technologies--layered with smart systems combining geo-location data with human experience--will make cities the driving sustainability force in a dawning planetary era. Cities will anticipate new risks with rapid urban systems innovation based upon crowdsourcing, virtual and physical communities, and transparent markets sensitive to full carbon and resource costs. Creatively leveraging collective intelligence for clean energy, low carbon mobility and sustainable food and water, the new urban grid will enable high local quality of life, lifelong learning and vibrant green economies.


Dealing with energy shock in Japan

length: 24:00   credit: Radio Ecoshockdownload   Apr 04, 2012

Mount fuji vector imageWe have a new report from Warren Karlenzig, who just toured Japan with a United Nations group. As the founder of Common Current, Warren advises city and national governments on sustainability. He's a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute.

We can't get to the impact of the nuclear accident, or Japan's exciting prospects for green energy, without first giving respect to the people who live with the tragic loss of more than 20,000 lives, of whole towns, and a large part of the country. Warren gives us some insight on how people in Japan are handling unimaginable stress.

Are there immediate lessons we can learn about surviving a large-scale disaster? How much help comes from government, and how much from self organization by the citizens?

One of the hot button issues in Japan is the national government's plan to redistribute tsunami wreckage, including material contaminated with radioactive waste, all over the country.

With almost all nuclear reactors out of service, how are the Japanese dealing with the lack of energy? Fifty two out of fifty four reactors were out of service when Karlenzig toured Japan, and the 53rd was shutting down the day of our interview.

The Japanese are scambling to import more LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) - and burning more coal - but there is still a massive energy short-fall.

It turns out their response could be very close to our future - as oil becomes too expensive for most uses, if we can get oil at all.

Image via Shutterstock

Latest Publications

US Climate Study: Cities Center of Risk, Opportunity

Warren Karlenzig    Jan 17, 2013   

The US National Climate Assessment, a new draft study by 13 federal agencies under the Dept. of Commerce, warns that climate change is introducing to cities ample societal and business risks, but also economic … >>

9 Global Experts Steer the Gulf Oil Spill Conversation into Fresh Waters

Warren Karlenzig    May 20, 2010   

In an effort to broaden the conversation about the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill, nine Fellows of the Post Carbon Institute offer their perspectives on largely underreported aspects and outcomes of the disaster.   ERIKA … >>

CITIES: The Death of Sprawl

Warren Karlenzig    Jun 23, 2010   

EXCERPT: In April 2009—just when people thought things couldn’t get worse in San Bernardino County, California—bulldozers demolished four perfectly good new houses and a dozen others still under … >>

The Post Carbon Reader

Warren Karlenzig

How do population, water, energy, food, and climate issues impact one another? What can we do to address one problem without making the others worse? The Post Carbon Reader features essays by some of the world’s most … >>

press coverage

Karlenzig in the Marin Independent Journal

Warren Karlenzig  

Post Carbon Warren Karlenzig's recent UN tour of Japan's tsunami hit areas was reported in this piece in the Marin Independent Journal. From the article: Warren Karlenzig, a San Anselmo-based urban sustainability … >>