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    Jun 29 2012: Nick, The assumption here is that cities are in control of their destinies. I do not believe that. Currently the US Federal government is dictating our direction. First all of the failed "green" ventures, at tax payers expense. Second the attempt to legislate Cap and Trade failed in Congress but was implemented through Executive Order through DO Energy. The administrations ability to by pass Congress will continue to drive all lower level decisions as the federal funds are made bribery chips in getting things the federal way from education to energy.

    Projects at "city" levels require funding and that means grants from the government in most cases. All cities are budget driven and will continue to be so.

    Metro areas continue to expand without thought to water resources, food supply, waste disposal, etc ... Phoenix Arizona is suing for water from any resources available because they have exceeded their resources. Poor planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

    The key, as always, is responsible government, concerned citizens, and advanced planning. The potential of cities rests with involvement at all levels. We can remain part of the problem or we can become part of the solution. We have currently lost faith in government and we need to restore that by holding office holders accountable.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Jun 30 2012: Bob, as a friend of mine would say - fair shout.

      There is clearly a strong relationship between the development of a city, and the actions of its Federal government. What interests me are the examples where they are to a great extent in sync, at least at the strategy/intent level.

      If you look a China, the Federal government knows that the success of its 5 Year Plan is to a great extent in the hands of its cities, as this is where much of the delivery will happen. This is true for the current 12th 5 Year Plan.

      The Federal government set the priorities, overall targets and the menu of delivery options that can deliver these. Then targets are passed on to the municipal leaders, and they are then responsible for defining the priority initiatives for their city that will help deliver these targets.

      Looking outside China there are also cases where the municipal leader is strong enough, and has sufficient budget to operate with a level of independence.

      In summary, regulation that can enable the right solutions, and the availability of funding to deliver these solutions are so important. The two are linked - as regulation so often enables the creation of the market environment that promotes private funding, and a fully functioning Cap &Trade scheme is a good example f this.

      Finally, the food-water-energy-waste point you make is bang on. As Norbert pointed out in an earlier entry, understanding these stresses in key locations is critical, as is the creation of solutions that start to optimise around these, as I mentioned earlier this week.

      Tough stuff...
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        Jun 30 2012: Does shell put ANY research into nuclear fusion what so ever? I mean, come on, if you don't, thats pretty ridiculous. Just imagine clean, powerful, and unlimited nuclear energy that produces only helium as a harmless waste product.

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