T he Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (RMPJC) urges you to Vote YES on City of Boulder Issue 2A, the extension of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) Excise Tax. The tax was originally passed in 2006 and has supported programs designed to stem greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.
The City's use of these tax dollars has had impressive results. It brought energy efficiency programs to 4,000 homes, 1,800 rental units and 100 businesses and caused Boulder to have one of the highest installed solar capacities in the United States, according to the city. The tax was also used to start curbside composting and reduce solid waste emissions. As a result of these and other programs, Boulder's carbon emissions have not increased since 2007. According to the Daily Camera, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute "concluded that Boulder had made 'impressive' improvements in energy savings -- though not enough to reach its Kyoto Protocol goals of getting greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels -- and had done so in a way that was reasonably cost effective."
The City Council referred the current measure to the ballot. The tax would be extended for five years to "provide incentives, services and other assistance to Boulder residents and businesses to improve energy efficiency, expand the use of renewable energy and take other necessary steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The tax will also fund creative thinking and innovation to stop climate change.
The tax will cost the average household $21 a year, commercial business $96 a year and industrial user $9,600 a year, according to the city's report.
Since almost no progress to stop climate change has been made nationally or internationally (sadly due to the U.S. killing efforts for a global pact at Copenhagen and Rio), local efforts are absolutely necessary. While clearly not enough to stem the tide, they encourage us here at home and are models for other cities to learn and innovate from.
With 2012 being one of the hottest and driest years on record, with Super Storm Sandy wreaking havoc in Haiti and along the East Coast of the United States this week, and with reports of the arctic ice melting much more rapidly than anticipated by scientists as recently as last year, local actions contribute to solving this vexing problem. In addition to voting yes on 2A, we all need to be pressuring our state and federal officials to take immediate action to curb emissions and turn climate change around.
Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of the RMPJC.