Saturday, November 18, 2006

"Carbon Tax" Gains a Toehold

Citizens in Boulder, Colorado, voted to levy what has been dubbed a "carbon tax" on themselves, based on the number of kilowatt-hours used by private homes and businesses. Revenues from the tax will be used to pay for Boulder's ambitious "climate action plan," a town-wide effort to "increase energy efficiency in homes and buildings, switch to renewable energy and reduce vehicle miles traveled." (NYTimes today)

Boulder's goal is to reduce the carbon levels to 7 percent less than those in 1990, which amounts to a 24 percent reduction from current levels.

Boulder town officials say the tax, set to go into effect April 1st, will add $16 a year to an average homeowner's electricity bill and $46 for businesses.

Residents who use alternative sources of electricity like wind power will receive a discount on the tax based on the amount of the alternative power used. A total of some 5,600 residents and 210 businesses in Boulder already use wind power.

All of this desire to lower energy consumption flows from the Boulder grassroots up. Residents wanted to honor the Kyoto Protocols in spite of El Presidente's dissing of the entire international environmental movement, and town officials became responsive to their people.

When the people lead, the leaders will follow.

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