The article below is a summary taken from an advisory report (pictured).

It’s a basic checklist for anybody who wishes to influence local government on the multiple ways that councils are able to respond to the Peak Oil issue.

Click here to download a complete copy of the report.


Summary

The decline of global oil production will radically change the way our societies are run: our transport systems, how we produce food, where we work and live.

There are a great many things that councils must do, and policies that need to be changed, if we are to have any chance of mitigating the economic effects of peak oil. On the plus side, some of these initiatives already exist (recycling, etc.) but these efforts need to be significantly expanded, and entire areas of policy remain unaddressed.

The continued expansion of road and air infrastructure no longer makes any sense. Forecasts of a massive increase in road travel over the next thirty years are based entirely on historical data, and will soon be rendered meaningless by peak oil. New major road developments run the risk of turning into expensive white elephants. Instead, we must start preparing for a contraction in all travel modes that depend on oil.

Food supplies should be of primary concern. Prices are already soaring globally, partly due to the dash for biofuels. As oil production declines these pressures are only likely to increase, and the dilemmas they pose will only sharpen in the future. In a world of constrained transport, food security will increasingly depend upon local supply. We need to start planning for these changes now.

The most fundamental change needed is in the way people think. Local policy will be fundamental to the transition to a lean-energy future, but councils cannot achieve everything by themselves; the necessary changes will require much greater co-operative spirit within and between communities in future. Hearts and minds are critical; now is the time to change them.

1. Preparing for peak oil
Peak oil means local authorities need to plan for the likelihood of rising oil prices and shrinking fuel supplies. First steps should include:

  • A detailed energy audit of all council activities including transport and buildings. This will point the way to immediate cost savings, emission reductions and greater energy security, and better prepare the authority for any short term interruptions to energy supplies
  • An in-depth assessment of the impact of peak oil on the local economy, environment and social services including food and agriculture, health and medicine, transport, education, waste, water supply, communications, and energy use
  • The development of an emergency plan to respond to sudden interruptions in oil supplies and/or sharply rising oil prices, with a particular emphasis on ‘at risk’ communities
  • Set specific targets for reducing oil and natural gas consumption in the local government, business and household sectors, by a significant proportion within a defined period
  • Encourage a major shift from private to public transport, cycling and walking, through investment in public transport and expansion of existing programmes such as cycle lanes and road pricing
  • Reduce overall transport demand by using planning powers to shape the built environment
  • Shape planning rules to encourage the greatest energy efficiency in new and existing buildings
  • Promote the use of locally produced, non-fossil transport fuels such as biogas and renewable electricity in both council operations and public transport
  • Prevent infrastructure investments that are not viable in a low energy society
  • Develop rigorous energy efficiency and energy conservation programmes that help businesses and individuals to reduce their oil dependency
  • Support the growth of businesses that supply renewable and energyefficient solutions
  • Launch a major public energy-awareness campaign incorporating leaflets, the internet and an expanded network of energy-saving advice centres. The more people understand peak oil, the more likely they are to support or accept demand management measures
  • Find ways to encourage local food production and processing; facilitate reduction of energy used in refrigeration and transportation of food
  • Set up a joint peak oil task force with other councils, and partner closely with existing community-led initiatives such as the Transition Network and the Relocalization Network
  • Adopt the Oil Depletion Protocol and the ‘Five principles’ proposed by Post Carbon Cities

2. Peak oil and climate change
Council policies on peak oil and climate change should be closely coordinated and mutually reinforcing. Most policy options will help mitigate both problems, but where priorities conflict, peak oil must be given adequate weight. Councils need to understand and connect these issues in both strategy and internal and external communication, and should propagate this understanding into the wider local, regional and national government strategic framework

3. Education
Councils need to develop positive ways to educate the public about peak oil, to effect behaviour change and reduce oil dependency throughout business and the community. Local authorities should distribute educational leaflets to households in their area, focussing on positive solutions and the incidental benefits, such as the impact on climate change. The role of institutions and individuals, and the need for immediate action, should all be emphasized

Where councils already operate a service offering information and advice on climate change and energy saving, its remit should be expanded to include peak oil. If a council does not offer such a service, it should consider setting one up

Councils also need to conduct an internal education and awareness-raising programme to inform all their councillors, officers and employees on peak oil issues and the available solutions towards reducing oil dependency

4. Expand existing initiatives
Many initiatives are already underway at the local government level that will help the transition from pre-peak plenty to post-peak scarcity, for example: road pricing, energy efficiency/insulation programs, promotion of renewables, recycling/reuse. These can all be further legitimised as policies that will help mitigate peak oil; if the general public understand peak oil, they are more likely to participate and support local government initiatives in these areas

5. Organization
Each local authority should consider nominating an officer to develop and coordinate its response to peak oil both internally and in cooperation with other councils. Where possible, councils should set up a task force on peak oil

The council’s peak oil task force should partner closely with existing citizen initiatives which are already working on energy planning to foster community based solutions

References:
See also related articles here and here.

peakoiltas

One Response to “What can Tasmanian local councils do?”

  1. An absolutely magnificent, concise summary of what needs to be done. The speed with which such sensible material is coming up gives me real hope that we will be able to meet this threat — especially in Tasmania — and that if we can, we can be something of a beacon for other, less advantaged communities.

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

© 2011 Peak Oil Tasmania Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663 664 665 666 667 668 669 670 671 672 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 711 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 807 808 809 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 840 841 842 843 844 845 846 847 848 849 850 851 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 900 901 902 903 904 905 906 907 908 909 910 911 912 913 914 915 916 917 918 919 920 921 922 923 924 925 926 927 928 929 930 931 932 933 934 935 936 937 938 939 940 941 942 943 944 945 946 947 948 949 950 951 952 953 954 955 956 957 958 959 960 961 962 963 964 965 966 967 968 969 970 971 972 973 974 975 976 977 978 979 980 981 982 983 984 985 986 987 988 989 990 991 992 993 994 995 996 997 998 999 1000 1001 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006 1007 1008 1009 1010 1011 1012 1013 1014 1015 1016 1017 1018 1019 1020 1021 1022 1023 1024 1025 1026 1027 1028 1029 1030 1031 1032 1033 1034 1035 1036 1037 1038 1039 1040 1041 1042 1043 1044 1045 1046 1047 1048 1049 1050 1051 1052 1053 1054 1055 1056 1057 1058 1059 1060 1061 1062 1063 1064 1065 1066 1067 1068 1069 1070 1071 1072 1073 1074 1075 1076 1077 1078 1079 1080 1081 1082 1083 1084 1085 1086 1087 1088 1089 1090 1091 1092 1093 1094 1095 1096 1097 1098 1099 1100 1101 1102 1103 1104 1105 1106 1107 1108 1109 1110