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Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty

Daniel Lerch

October 1, 2007

Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty (2007) was the first major guidebook on peak oil and global warming for people who work with and for local governments in the United States and Canada. It provided a sober look at how these phenomena are quickly creating new uncertainties and vulnerabilities for cities of all sizes, reviewed how “early-actor” cities started responding to peak oil, and recommended steps for local decisionmakers to take for addressing these unprecedented challenges.

Post Carbon Cities filled an important gap in the resources available to local government decision-makers on planning for the changing global energy and climate context of the 21st century. As the book is now out of print, we are pleased to make it available here online in its entirety:

Praise for Post Carbon Cities

“When we are approached by cities interested in taking the next step to address climate and energy challenges, we encourage them to take advantage of the resources that Post Carbon Cities has to offer. The Post Carbon Cities program fills a unique niche in that it focuses on both peak oil and climate change issues, and offers practical direction for those communities that want to take action.

“The inspiration, updated information, and pragmatic assistance that you provide is truly needed at all levels of government.”

  – Paul Moss, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Post Carbon Cities is an exceptionally clear and comprehensive call-to-action to those who actually work in the trenches of city governance. We don’t have any more time to waste getting ready for an energy-scarcer future, and for those who remain dazed and confused, this book is an excellent place to start.”

  – James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere

“How will we cope with a future of energy scarcity? As a policy maker I look to other communities for inspiration and ideas, but there’s been a lack of information on what local governments are doing to adapt to Peak Oil. Post Carbon Cities fills this gap: herein lies the roadmap plotted by the cities that are leading the way. Enthusiastically recommended!”

  – City Council President Dave Rollo, Bloomington, Indiana

Post Carbon Cities will be very helpful to people involved in transportation and land use planning as they attempt to re-think land use patterns and the movement of people and goods for the economic, environmental and social well being of the planet. The timing could not be more critical!”

  – Alan Falleri, Community Development Director, Willits, California

“Spend a few minutes surfing most of the peak oil websites, and you will quickly arrive at the grim conclusion that civilization is doomed, or worse–we oil-addicted humans are all going to die of starvation or be killed in the violence of a society in its death throes. Time to close your web browser and open Post Carbon Cities, a reference manual that offers a cautiously optimistic and pragmatic assessment of the looming twin crises of peak oil and climate change.”

  – Review by Erica Etelson, founding member of Oil Independent Berkeley, in Permaculture Activist

“Thank you for authoring Post Carbon Cities. I am a professional in rural community development who is assisting local governments to understand and deal with issues related to peak oil and climate. Your presentation of the issues, ‘uncertainties’ as you call them, is written in a language that shows understanding of how local governments operate. Your book will catch the attention of local government officials and staff, and it gives credibility to issues that are sometimes a difficult ‘sell.'”

  – Michael McLaughlin, EDO Similkameen Valley (British Columbia) / Lead Consultant, Rural Futures Associates

“The focus of [Post Carbon Cities] is absolutely right on for most local governments, and the information in the book is desperately needed by local municipalities. Post Carbon Cities focuses on the basics: what the energy problem is, why it is, and what can be done about it. It brings home the effects that oil and gas depletion –and climate change– are apt to have (and indeed already have) on local governments.”

  – Review by Mick Winter, editor of DryDipstick.com and author of Peak Oil Prep: Prepare for Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse

Post Carbon Cities is an exemplar of clear writing and outstanding formatting; officials without a lot of time for reading can quickly grasp the ideas and understand what it is they should do.”

  – Margaret Robertson, author of Sustainability: Principles and Practice (Routledge/Earthscan, 2014)