New book on meeting challenges of “peak oil” and global warming.

Record-setting prices for oil are creating huge problems for America’s cities as they struggle to cope with soaring fuel costs. In Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty, Daniel Lerch of Post Carbon Institute shows city leaders how to create their own plans to reduce local vulnerability to rising prices and volatile energy markets.

Image Removed “The exciting news in this book is that America’s local leaders are not waiting for Washington to act,” said Lerch. “In places like Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California, city officials and citizen committees have already started developing their own immediate and long-term energy plans to move away from fossil fuels and develop alternative sources of energy.”

Post Carbon Cities draws on the experiences of American and Canadian cities large and small. “Looking at what people have accomplished is really inspiring,” said Lerch. “By pulling all these examples together, we hope to make it easier for cities that have just begun to wrestle with energy costs and climate change to learn from what other cities have done.”

  • Portland, Oregon is leading the nation with an ambitious goal to cut community-wide oil and natural gas use by 50% over the next 25 years.

  • Hamilton, Ontario is reconsidering a major expansion of its airport after key officials and citizen activists insisted that future oil scarcity be taken into account.
  • Willits, California assessed its vulnerability to oil scarcity and was able to find and resolve potential problems at the main city water treatment plant.

  • Oakland, California is nearing completion of an eight-month task force study to identify ways Oakland can become “oil independent” by 2020.

Post Carbon Cities is the first major book written specifically for local government officials, staff, and community activists on how to respond to the fundamental changes taking place in the global energy system,” said Debbie Cook, city councilor of Huntington Beach, California. “Every municipal leader in America should read this book.”

Image Removed Author Daniel Lerch kicks starts an East Coast promotional book tour this week with major public presentations in Boston (10/29), Providence (10/30), New York (11/5-7) and Philadelphia (11/8). Lerch is also meeting privately with city leaders and citizen activists during the tour. A preliminary tour last week brought Lerch to Montréal and parts of northern New England. Tour schedule and details are online at

Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty is published by Post Carbon Press (Sebastopol, California) and distributed by Post Carbon Books. 113 pages, $30; information and ordering at



Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty

by Daniel Lerch, Post Carbon Institute
First printing September 2007
$30, 113 pages. ISBN 978-0-9767510-5-2

Published by Post Carbon Press, Sebastopol, California, USA

Distributed by Post Carbon Books,

Information and ordering at


Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty is a guidebook on peak oil and global warming for people who work with and for local governments in the United States and Canada. It provides a sober look at how these two phenomena are quickly creating new uncertainties and vulnerabilities for cities of all sizes, and explains what local decision-makers can do to address these challenges. Post Carbon Cities fills an important gap in the resources currently available to local government decision-makers on planning for the changing global energy and climate context realities of the 21st century.


“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!”
– Dave Rollo, City Council President, 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


Daniel Lerch is the author of “Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty,” the first major local government guidebook on peak oil and global warming. Mr. Lerch is a program manager with Post Carbon Institute, and has worked on urban planning issues for over ten years in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He authored one of the first local government policy assessments of peak oil while a Policy Associate at Metro, the regional government of the Portland, Oregon area. He also co-founded The City Repair Project, an award-winning non-profit organization working on community public space issues. Mr. Lerch has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Rutgers University in New Jersey and a Master of Urban Studies from Portland State University in Oregon.