BOULDER, Colo. –

If Boulder’s carbon tax is increased, the city can meet the greenhouse gas goals set by the Kyoto Protocol — with a little carbon to spare — city officials said Thursday.

But success would depend on some strategies that are beyond the Climate Action Plan staffers’ direct control, including Boulder’s ability to twist arms outside its jurisdiction — such as the successful passage of a clean car standard in Colorado — and the City Council’s willingness to pass more regulations to mandate energy-efficiency upgrades to buildings.

“Our preliminary analysis shows that there are paths to the goal,” said David Driscoll, head of community planning for the city. “We believe we can get there and even a bit over the goal.”

The Kyoto Protocol, which Boulder committed to in 2002, challenges the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels.

The City Council will begin discussing whether to raise the carbon tax, which is currently collected at the lowest level approved by voters in 2006, at its April 7 meeting.

The path to Kyoto would include investing in more incentives and rebates for renewable energy; leveraging Xcel Energy’s smart grid with user education and installation of the tools that allow residents to take advantage of new grid; lobbying state and federal lawmakers; and encouraging more people to purchase wind power through Xcel’s Windsource program and other renewable energy credits, according to city staff.

But many of the two dozen people who attended Thursday’s public meeting to learn about the Climate Action Plan were still critical, calling for better tracking of emissions and swifter, more concrete action.

“I love the idea of increasing this tax to the maximum possible,” said Boulder resident Jason Lawrence. “But at the same time, I have to ask, ‘Are we doing the best we can with our tax dollars?'”

Pat Shanks, speaking for PLAN-Boulder County, had similar concerns.

“For many people there’s this question: What has the climate action thing done and is there really a direct relationship between spending the climate action dollars and reducing greenhouse gases?” he said.

The city’s ClimateSmart program, which is now just shy of 2 years old, was directed by City Council and citizen advisory groups to focus the carbon-tax funds on voluntary reductions using education and outreach. The results, which include hundreds of home energy audits and grass-roots organizing, have been difficult to measure in terms of greenhouse gas reductions.

Several residents who spoke at the meeting asked city officials to use their resources to turn Boulder’s electricity from “black to green.” The city is in the process of renegotiating its franchise agreement with Xcel, which could require the utility to provide Boulder with a greater percentage of renewable energy.

“We’ve got to demand it,” said Leslie Glustrom, of Boulder. “Otherwise, what we’re doing is just straightening the spice cabinet while the house is burning down.”

Contact Camera Staff Writer Laura Snider at 303-473-1327 or sniderl@dailycamera.com.

Archived comments

well.. duh.. but don’t wonder why about the sudden stagflation in boulder, the sudden drop in property values and the disappearance of jobs… (you know those few of us contributing members of society that pay taxes for the rest of you)

bandelier

3/19/2009 10:37:33 PM

I don’t suppose it matters that historically atmospheric carbon dioxide lags temperature, or that carbon dioxide has been at much higher concentrations in the past, or that the global temperature is not actually rising.

To quote Pat Shanks: “What has the climate action thing done ?”

glock27

3/19/2009 10:51:33 PM

let me see, they’ve missed every single goal they’ve set, yet they expect us to believe, with more money, they can meet this goal.

This is like our own little AIG.

bouldermeister

3/19/2009 11:00:43 PM

Glock/BM – Cosign

InsipidPhenom

3/19/2009 11:22:05 PM

Who is Leslie Glustrom?

Is Boulder City Council and City Manager familar with Class Action Law Suits?

How many municipal bonds will it take to cover that?Interested in being tied up in a 12 year lawsuit for your fantasies?

Is XCEL still under indictment for criminal and civil charges by Cuomo?

Do corporations or consumers pollute more?

Who is City Council and City Manager intending to tax more?

Who is the Colorado version of Cuomo?

Who is the US Attorney for Colorado?

onoma

3/19/2009 11:36:39 PM

YES WE CAN!

Just kick everyone out. Put a stop to high density housing which is nothing more than a plan like open space that sounds politically correct but is nothing more thana scheme to make developers rich.

Or does this not fit into the image Boulder has of itself. Maybe high density housing is a fab idea and you should get Mapleton Hill Association to stop being a “not in our backyard” bunch of hypocrites and let the two schools up there be developed.

Choices, choices. All of them will make you a hypocrite.

Flyonthewall

3/20/2009 1:27:09 AM

“I love the idea of increasing this tax to the maximum possible,” said Boulder resident Jason Lawrence. “But at the same time, I have to ask, ‘Are we doing the best we can with our tax dollars?'”

Li-ber-al translation. I’m not sure I’m really solving a problem, but taxing people more makes me feel like I’m doing something.

I wonder if the guy struggling to pay his bills in Boulder “feels” better as well?

MaryWanna

3/20/2009 1:48:04 AM

“Pat Shanks, speaking for PLAN-Boulder County, had similar concerns.

“For many people there’s this question: What has the climate action thing done and is there really a direct relationship between spending the climate action dollars and reducing greenhouse gases?””

If you have to ask such a stupid question Pat, odds are you already know the answer.

MaryWanna

3/20/2009 1:50:26 AM

Boulder City Council – never met a tax that could not raised…

Wait till the next round of Fast Tracks hits the ballot…

BHS80

3/20/2009 4:21:18 AM

“If Boulder’s carbon tax is increased, the city can meet the greenhouse gas goals set by the Kyoto Protocol — with a little carbon to spare — city officials said Thursday.”

Is this the DC or the Onion?

IXLR82

3/20/2009 6:34:11 AM

If the city jettisoned some of the hundreds of vehicles it owns it would be a good start. I routinely see one worker cruising around is some monstrosity-sized truck, wasting time and gas plus polluting our air. Can’t have it both ways Bouldercrats! I also wonder how that $2,000 dollar bike allowance for the manager was spent? These people are so arrogant and corrupt.

meatpieandtatters

3/20/2009 6:51:48 AM

I strongly support the Kyoto goals and believe they can be achieved.

But what is the relationship between taxing citizens and reducing emissions???This is bizarre.

So far, our money has gone to pay for brochures written by more City Staffers.It’s possible the effort so far has actually increased carbon emissions – as they admit, there is no way to tell what the effect has been; it’s quite literally all speculation.

Reducing carbon emissions requires an engineering solution not a political one.Sort of obvious to everyone, except politicians.Give tax REBATES for more PV, more house insulation, electric cars/motorcycles, etc, and very quickly there will be positive change, and it easily quantified scientifically.

More “education and outreach” is more hot air, which I thought is what we were trying to reduce.

Buzz

3/20/2009 7:00:38 AM

from the last article:

“And though Van Pelt is confident the programs are working, it’s tough to prove, since measuring the impact at this point is more art than science.”

how about you stop the program, make the measurement a science, then try again?

bouldermeister

3/20/2009 7:29:58 AM

Kyoto Protocol

1. Stop all car’s to let on person cross the street.

2. Raise taxes and say you cleaned the air.

3. Put in expensive electric meters that tell you what you already know what is consuming the power.

4. Tell the world your green because you take all the water you can and give nothing to the farmers that are watching their land dry up.

5. Put in more 29th street malls that use more power and gas to heat than the mall you had before and make people drive all over the mall instead of walking.

6. Put in more traffic lights so more cars are spewing gas and put in Photo lights to catch those cars that go caught in your short yellow cycle.

7. Put more traffic police and less crime police out because they generate more revenue.

8. Make 2 traffic court cases out of 1 so you you have more people driving to court and driving around looking for a parking space.

9. Keep all bike traffic in with car’s and create more friction among both with more congestion.

10. Add solar panels on build 55′ buildings that block the panels from the sun.

The1

3/20/2009 7:33:42 AM

“I love the idea of increasing this tax to the maximum possible,” said Boulder resident Jason Lawrence. “But at the same time, I have to ask, ‘Are we doing the best we can with our tax dollars?'”

Poor Jason, thanks to the internets, his quote will be available for all to see forever.

bouldermeister

3/20/2009 7:52:28 AM

marketing ploy.

Dont vote for it.

JakPott

3/20/2009 8:03:33 AM

Where were all of the DC trolls at last evening’s hearing?Not interested in any public comment you actually have to make in person?

Keep up the ignorant echo chamber, it’s clearly more comfortable for you…

gilbysm@hotmail.com

3/20/2009 8:09:19 AM

I have seen green cities about the same size as Boulder like Bergen and Trondheim, Norway, Uppsala, Sweden, and Lucern, Switzerland, and Boulder cannot match any of them. They are coordinated with all form of transportation and are built on the premise that the relation to where people live to where they actually go to both live and work and how they get there has an impact on their environmental footprint. The Boulder city government seems to have a pigeon-hole structure with a whole bunch disassociated parts that barely talk to one another, let alone come up with a comprehensive plan, just add or increase a ‘carbon’ tax.

nuggethillrd@skyxpress.net

3/20/2009 8:16:39 AM

“If Boulder’s carbon tax is increased, the city can meet the greenhouse gas goals set by the Kyoto Protocol.”

***

Isn’t it about time to stop this nonsense?

donwrege

3/20/2009 8:30:32 AM

Let’s be more positive about our performance.

Despite not meeting our Kyoto goal, we have succeeed in cooling the planet over the past 10 years.

Since we don’t have a warming planet, we do not need to wear the hairshirt of Kyoto.

slehan@aupairint.com

3/20/2009 9:42:36 AM

The usual denialists are prattling their usual babble.

wgstrand

3/20/2009 9:43:15 AM

The City of Boulder’s efforts to reduce CO2 are almost laughable. Read this to get a real sense of how difficult the CO2 problem is:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/189293

jjnobody@aol.com

3/20/2009 9:51:51 AM

The1—bike traffic IS traffic, bonehead. get outta your car and ride one (a bike).

rather than spout off, try to make a difference.

t.pull@hotmail.com

3/20/2009 10:48:26 AM

I also believe that Boulder City Council should increase our taxes so it can fight world hunger.Maybe we should be taxed raise an army to send it to foreign lands to fight genocide?

456ded

3/20/2009 11:10:03 AM

” meet the greenhouse gas goals set by the Kyoto Protocol — with a little carbon to spare”

I heard, and I am sure someone will correct me if I’m off,that the expert consensus is that we need somthing like a dozen times the reduction mandated by Kyoto to avert catastrophe. If that’s true, why are we feeling so good about a path to Kyoto compliance?If we need to get 12 times farther by the time Al Gore’s doomsday counter gets to 0 in about 9 years, then what’s up with this?

Points to one big bluff.

andy@dickson.org

3/20/2009 1:27:07 PM

“we should be taxed raise an army to send it to foreign lands to fight genocide…”I think I know where you are going with this 456ded.Translation:”Tax money should go to me so I can continue my schooling, because I don’t think so good.”

pete@livingspc.com

3/20/2009 1:34:33 PM

And people ask me why I left Boulder and moved far away…it’s so painfully obvious.

BoulderOldTimer

4/10/2009 4:58:30 PM