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Will the Near Future be a Harsh Climate for Suburbs?

In this excerpt from her new book, "Before the Lights Go Out" author Maggie Koerth-Baker warns of the converging crises of peak oil and climate change on suburban areas.
April 3, 2012, 11am PDT | Michael Dudley
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Using Merriam, Kansas as an example of the typical American suburban environment, Koerth-Baker considers the impacts of what the current science predicts will be a hotter, wetter world with less and more expensive oil:

"Metro towns aren't self-reliant. Their fates have been tied to the fates of the towns they touch for decades. That interconnection works now because gasoline is cheap. What happens to a metro town when travel from one part to another is no longer easy and frequent, no longer something that can happen daily or hourly? What happens when the parts of a metro can no longer rely on the direct support of all of the others but are still on the hook for funding shared systems? What happens to the city at the metro's heart when it can no longer count on the social support, the financial investments, and the intellectual capital of people who actually live elsewhere?"

We have two problems: our metro lifestyles require energy, but we also want to avoid the negative impacts climate change and peak oil will have on metro communities."

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Published on Friday, March 23, 2012 in Scientific American
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