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Regional Development: Planning for Resiliency In the 21st Century  - A Methodology and Approach for Communities Dealing with Climate Change and Rising Oil Prices

 

Principle Researcher: Dr. W.J. Caldwell, Professor,

School of Environmental Design and Rural Development

University of Guelph

 

Contributing Researchers: Dr. Jennifer Ball, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph

Dr. Yolande Chan, Monieson Centre, Queen's University

Scott Tousaw, Huron County Department of Planning and Development

 

Submitted to:
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

University of Guelph

 

March 1, 2010

Executive Summary

Climate change and anticipated changes in oil pricing are likely to significantly impact rural Ontario.   Concurrently, these two issues have the potential to fundamentally change rural Ontario (transportation, employment, agriculture, etc.).  On a positive note the responses to climate change and energy issues are connected, in that adaptation and mitigation of climate change can partially be addressed through a thoughtful response to energy supply and demand. 

 

While the specific impacts and magnitude of climate change and rising oil prices are unpredictable and dependant on numerous variables, there is the need to develop a feasible and realistic community response.  The uncertainty caused by these two issues means that the economies of rural communities will be put under significant stress.  This research will investigate the capacity of municipalities to respond.  The research will provide practical strategies that will help ensure that rural Ontario is prepared to respond to the related issues of climate change and rising oil prices.  Both of these issues stress the need for strategies of resilience and policy that reflect the diversity of rural Ontario.

 

Goals and Objectives

  1. To conduct a literature review looking at issues, strategies and approaches related to Rising oil prices and Climate Change (including an overview and critique of Hubert’s hypothesis in terms of its impact on rural communities and related responses).
  2. To develop a number of scenarios that capture the range of outcomes potentially associated with Climate Change and increasing energy prices and constrained availability.
  3. To identify relevant strategies from Canada, the U.S., Europe and elsewhere and to consider their potential applicability in rural Ontario.
  4. To conduct a survey of rural Ontario municipalities to determine current practice and capacity to deal with the issue (including focus group discussions).
  5. To identify innovative and “best” practices based on case study analysis, focus groups and key informant interviews (with resulting best practices manual).
  6. To host a symposium to share results and contribute to dialogue (with resulting proceedings/book).