04 November 2009

Even in Boulder

As yesterday's election outcomes are dissected, there was an interesting result here in Boulder, Colorado with respect to a request to expand its "ClimateSmart" program:
Voters also rejected county Issue 1B, which would have expanded a program that provides low-interest loans to property owners who want make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes and businesses.

According to the unofficial final counts, 50.97 percent were against the measure, which would have increased the total debt capacity of the ClimateSmart loan program by $85 million.
Apparently even in Boulder some climate policies have their limits. What this might signify probably requires some deeper investigation, but with the Boulder failing to meet its self-imposed Kyoto goals, it does suggest a rethinking of strategy.


  1. Having lived in Boulder for 13 years, I know the difference between the city and the county. You say it failed in the county, but I'm betting it did quite well in the city.

  2. -1-Dean, the results are here:


    I suspect you are correct about inside the city limits. It was a county election.

  3. It strikes me as a result of self-selection. Those with the most intense frustration at the status quo showed up to vote, those who were more complacent, or not intensely agitated, didn't. There was nothing else on the ballot to draw out sympathetic voters. I predict that Fall 2010 will see the expansion of ClimateSmart.

  4. -3-cruelmistress (can I call you cruelmistress?;-)

    Undoubtedly. (makes one wonder why getting this vote on the ballot this year was a priority) Welcome to democracy in America.

    After predicting a Kerry landslide in 2004 and Gore victory in 2008, I'm off election predictions;-)

  5. For you, Roger, you can just defer to the Mistress. At this point, I'm kinda digging the gender bending.

    (Sorry about the login name. It's easier for me to type my Wordpress name to leave comments at your blog. I'd prefer to use "Ben," but whatev.)

    For ClimateSmart, it was primarily about expansion of the program, not cancellation. They ate through a lot, but not all, of their bond issue right from the outset, so as I understand it, the question isn't so much about the end of the program, as much as about whether it will have more funding in the Spring. Don't really know though. I'm sure Susie Strife will have more information.

  6. Did nobody notice that the Feds current rate of interest is near zero just now? So why vote on something that could cost virtually nothing, would save grid energy and which is something Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street crooks already receive? In fact it should be zero interest loans nationwide, backed directly by the government via the Fed and it should be called EnergySmart - not ClimateSmart.

  7. It's interesting to me that the folks at ClimateSmart admit that they have no interest in using the "teachable moment" to actually talk about climate. I was told by one staff member they steer away from talking about climate (other than in the name) because it's too controversial. In Boulder? Nationally, those dismissive about basic climate science are 8%, and even if that's true in Boulder, why not get beyond the "everyone calculate your carbon footprint and get with the program" reducationistic/overly simplistic approach and actually use the opportunity to talk about the connections between climate, human activities (not just combusting fossil fuels/buried solar energy), carbon cycle, energy consumption.

    ClimateSmart loans seem like a win-win... and Boulder, like many affluent towns, seems caught in the kaya identify conundrum: how to decarbonize a city when affluence tends to lead to bigger footprints?

    Instead of really engaging the community and looking for ways to increase awareness (since those who are the most concerned and motivated to change also seem to be those most informed about the issue, according to the Six Americas study,) ClimateSmart is really just a loan program that may or maynot make a dent in the emissions of the community while doing little if anything to raise collective awareness about climate science and solutions.

    A quick glance at the precinct results, it looks to me that plenty of City of Boulder precincts turned 1B down, too, and I'm sure WIll Toor and crew and scratching their heads and looking into the reasons why. Clearly it caught them by surprise.