Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future
A joint project of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the American Planning Association
Emerging energy and climate issues will present new economic and environmental realities for local communities to face—sooner or later, by choice or necessity. Climate change is already evident in many regions of the United States and is projected to accelerate in coming decades. The basics of energy—how it is generated, how it is used, and how much it costs—may also change dramatically in the not-so-distant future. Professional planners, by definition, need to be at the forefront of local and regional responses to changing energy and climate issues.
To help planners and local communities cope with these changes, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the American Planning Association (APA) collaborated on a joint project focused on strategies to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use
- Transition to renewable energy sources
- Adapt to local climate change
- Cope with uncertainty about future prices and supplies of oil and other non-renewable energy resources.
The project had three main features:
Planners Energy and Climate Database
The Planners Energy and Climate Database is an online tool to help planners, policymakers, and allied professionals find information related to addressing energy and climate issues at the local, regional, and state level. Relevant planning documents, research reports, case studies, local examples, and other information resources from across the country can be searched by region, state, community size, planning tool, topic, or keyword search. (The database is currently unavailable)
Energy and Climate Guide for Planners
A guide for planners and synthesis of the report project’s research findings was published as a book through APA’s Planning Advisory Service. The book provides essential background information and a practical framework for integrating energy and climate issues into planning. Like the database, the report addresses a full range of planning issues — from development patterns and infrastructure to transportation and economic development — and planning tools — from community visioning to project implementation — that can be employed to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Outreach to Professional Planners and Other Local Stakeholders
The ultimate goal of this project was to get useful information into the hands of practicing planners and other local officials. In addition to presenting the project’s findings and recommendation at various conferences and meetings, EESI reached out to a network of interested stakeholders from across the country which was developed over the course of the project.