April 10, 2010

New Guide Helps Communities With Energy, Climate Issues 

CHICAGOCommunities across the country are recognizing the need to reduce energy use, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to a changing climate in their efforts to become more sustainable. A new report published by the American Planning Association (APA) offers practical guidance and strategies for communities addressing these issues.

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future examines the rapidly changing nature of energy and climate issues and describes how communities can prepare for an uncertain future. It provides examples of how to consider energy and climate at the various stages of the planning process and offers ideas for how communities can address energy and climate challenges across a variety of issues, including development patterns, transportation, infrastructure, economic development, and natural resources.

The report is a collaborative partnership by APA, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Funding support was provided by the Surdna Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, and APA's Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Division.

 "From comprehensive planning to building and site design, the report offers insight into key energy and climate strategies," said Suzanne Rynne, AICP, manager of APA's Green Communities Research Center and one of the report's three co-authors.

The report provides examples of different tools and steps that communities across the country already have taken to address energy and climate change issues locally. Marin County, California, for instance, is featured in the report for their 2007 comprehensive plan that establishes several policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, monitoring climate change, and adapting to the effects of climate change. Other communities in the report include Chicago; Portland, Oregon; Fort Collins, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Greensburg, Kansas.

Report co-author and Senior Policy Associate for the Environmental and Energy Study Institute Jan Mueller said, "Case studies provide an important resource to communities.  They show what's being done and what can be done."

 "Addressing complex issues like energy and climate change requires an interdisciplinary approach," said co-author Scott Shuford, Onslow County, North Carolina's Planning and Development Director. "This report is an excellent example of government agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations working together to achieve practical, implementable results. Additionally, the collaboration with NOAA provides planners with current climate science information they can use."

"Across the nation, people are asking how best to prepare their lives, communities, and businesses for climate change. They need authoritative, understandable information on which to make these decisions," said Eileen Shea, chief of the Climate Services Division at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, which contributed to the report. "This is an example of the types of initiatives through which NOAA and others are working to show how climate science is relevant to real world situations."

The report was developed under the auspices of APA's Green Communities Research Center, one of APA's National Centers for Planning. The center engages in research, policy, outreach, and education that advance green communities through planning. For more information, visit www.planning.org/nationalcenters/green.

Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future is available through APA's PlanningBooks.com for $60. 160 pages. ISBN: 978-1-932364-76-7.

Complimentary review copies are available for members of the media by contacting Denny Johnson, djohnson@planning.org or 202-349-1006.

Contact

Denny Johnson, APA Public Affairs, 202-349-1006; djohnson@planning.org
Jan Mueller, EESI, 202-662-1883; jmueller@eesi.org
Merianne C. Miller, UNC Asheville, 828-251-6676; mepstein@unca.edu