Whether it's Boulder, Colorado enacting a carbon tax; Sydney becoming Australia's first carbon-neutral government body; or Somerset County Council becoming the first "Transition Local Authority" in the UK, local government can be fertile ground for grassroots environmental change. Even so, few town councils and regional governments are grasping the dire need for energy reform in the near future. We've just heard, via Rob Hopkins at Transition Culture, that a new guide from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre and the Post Carbon Institute hopes to set this straight — helping local authorities in the UK plan for the threat of peak oil.
Freely available on the internet, the document - entitled Preparing for Peak Oil: Local Authorities and the Energy Crisis - first lays out the issue of peak oil, before delving into what is being done about it at a local level. I've yet to read the document in detail, but Rob Hopkins review is pretty positive:
"Small criticisms aside though, this is a superb document, and one which many of you working with your local authorities (Step 9 of the 12 Steps of Transition is "Build a Bridge to Local Government") will find highly useful. At present, when most local authorities sit down to write their future development plans, they begin with a line that rises from left to right. They assume that the future will feature more of everything, more energy, more economic growth, more housing, more cars etc etc. This guide is a long-overdue riposte to this kind of thinking, and we should do all that we can to place it in the hands of our local representatives as soon as possible."
A similar book, entitled Post-Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty was produced for a more US-centric audience by the Post-Carbon Institute.
Further Reading on Community Solutions to Climate Change and Peak Oil
Portland Peak Oil Activists and Local Politicians Work Together
The Greenest Village in Britain? Chew Magna's Go Zero Project
Community Solutions to Coming Challenges: Peak Moment TV
Further Reading on Transition Towns
Transition Towns Reach New Zealand
Transition Town Plants Up Nut Trees for Food Security
Interview with Rob Hopkins, founder of the movement
Transition City Bristol
The Transition Handbook
Transition Towns Reach Australia
The Virtual Orchard Project
And Some Other Ideas for Weaning Us Off Fossil Fuels
Kite Powered Shipping
Local Farming Systems
Bikes, Cargo Bikes, Electric Bikes, Electric Scooters, Electric Cars, and Electric Trucks
Vegetarianism and Reduced Meat Diets
Algae and Waste Grease for Biofuels
Micro- , Macro- and Bloody-Massive-Scale Wind Turbines
Solar Power to Power a House or to Power the World