Voters in Boulder, Colo., will vote on carbon tax next week

Next week, Boulder, Colo., will seek to become the first U.S. city to impose a carbon tax on homes and businesses. If the progressive hotspot’s voters say yes, the per-kilowatt tax will raise the average home energy bill by less than $2 a month (businesses’ fees will vary, depending on energy usage). Proceeds will go toward energy audits and energy-efficiency awareness campaigns. “It’s admittedly not as sexy as going out there and trying to buy a wind farm,” Mayor Mark Ruzzin says, “but for cost effectiveness, we’ll get much bigger bang for our buck.” Saucy! Residents will save money in the short term — approval would go hand-in-hand with the axing of a trash-collection tax — and the longer term, as increased energy efficiency should reduce utility bills. The proposal is part of the city’s adoption of Kyoto Protocol goals; Boulder aims to lower its greenhouse-gas emissions 24 percent by 2012 — a goal, says Ruzzin, that’s “significant” but “doable.” Wow, so that’s what optimism sounds like.