Global Climate Change is creeping up on us. Republicans and ignorant citizens refuse to acknowledge that it exists and that damage will take place. What we do to address the problem of climate changes will affect the world of the planner in many ways. Transportation and Housing are two main users of U.S. energy. There are two different ways planners can respond to this. Either by mitigation measures of addressing the “cause” of human-induced climate change or by adaptation measure of addressing the “symptoms” of climate change. A question I wish to further investigate is what can planners do to decrease the impacts of Climate Change?

                They can focus on land-use policies. Creating a more compact urban form will reduce the use of cars, however there are people who do not want to live in an urban-like area. Integrating land use and transportation, creating mixed-use developments, and smaller jobs-housing proximity will allow residents to travel shorter distances in cars. Encourage the reuse of brownfields will reduce the need to travel to other communities and retain land for vegetation which could be a carbon sink. However, these projects cost money that politicians do not support. Having public facilities be in close proximity will allow residents to walk, bike, or bus to the locations instead of driving. Supporting agricultural land use will increase carbon sequestration. Overall, the themes are to have the communities’ needs nearby to shorten travel time and to provide vegetation for carbon sinks. Still, the public has to want to live in more compact areas and it may not be economically reasonable.

                Transportation policies may make a difference in minimizing travel time for drivers. Supporting an increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will benefit the economy and trade, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Promoting clean fuel technology and standards will force all transportation modes to use cleaner fuels and provide the fuels for consumers. Trucks, rail, air, buses, etc. need to be taken into account instead of only single occupancy vehicle use. Providing economic incentives for fuel efficient vehicles will encourage consumers to purchase or use fuel efficient vehicles. Enabling state action on vehicle emissions will force companies to build cars that emit less carbon dioxide. Therefore, lowering the amount emitted. Integrating with land use planning by incorporating transit, bicycle, and pedestrian networks into local and regional plans. This will encourage people to use their cars less. They also need to consider climate-resilient infrastructures when building roads, buildings, street signs, etc.

       Green Development policies make an impact on building regulations which are a large contributor to carbon emissions. Supporting the state adoption of mandatory building energy codes will set minimum expectations for energy efficiency in new buildings. Encouraging the building of green roofs will provide carbon sinks and reduce building-connected emissions. Requiring the use of water saving fixtures in areas that water supply is threatened by climate change will help to increase the supply of water.

Image                According to the Policy Guide on Planning & Climate Change from the American Planning Association, there are many ways a planner can make a difference in the causes and effects of climate change. Abiding by those policies can help a community reduce its carbon emissions and be more prepared for the effects of climate change.