Boulder Colorado USA Enacts Carbon Tax
Per the New York Times, "The tax, to take effect on April 1, will be based on the number of kilowatt-hours used. Officials say it will add $16 a year to an average homeowner's electricity bill and $46 for businesses"..."City officials said the revenue from the tax — an estimated $6.7 million by 2012, when the goal is to have reduced carbon emissions by 350,000 metric tons — would be collected by the main gas and electric utility, Xcel Energy, and funneled through the city's Office of Environmental Affairs . The tax is to pay for the "climate action plan," efforts to "increase energy efficiency in homes and buildings, switch to renewable energy and reduce vehicle miles traveled,..." Renewable energy uses apparently get a tax rebate: an indirect incentive to shift power buying preference. Should this be emulated by other municipalities in well wind-endowed states, the power of local politics to influence national ones will be established. We were wondering which aspect of local culture brought this measure forward. Was it primarily the famous 'college town liberal' aspect of Boulder?
Poking around for an image to use in this post, we noticed that the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), [pictured here] a "non-governmental U.S.-based institute whose stated mission is "exploring and understanding our atmosphere and its interactions with the Sun, the oceans, the biosphere, and human society"" is in Boulder! Wikipedia reports that "NCAR's Kevin E. Trenberth is one of the lead authors for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new Fourth Assessment Report."
These two factors didn't seem adequate to explain such courage and innovation on the part of City Council. Then it occured to us that demographic change might figure in. You know: all those Californians that moved to Colorado, importing and spreading a 'we do it first' kind of climate courage.
Be sure to look at the comments for some critiques and references to more accurate information.