In “The Lima Call for Climate Action” of December, all 196 member nations of the U.N. Framework on Climate Change agreed to cut their rate of greenhouse gas emissions.

It is widely believed that the United States will not be a part of any treaty on climate change because the Republican Party now controls the Senate and would never ratify it, so the current proposal is a non-binding agreement. However, there are compelling reasons for Republicans to push for a treaty and put forth a robust national plan to combat climate change.

Half of all Republicans said they support regulation of carbon dioxide, according to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University. The poll also found that nearly half of all Republicans said the U.S. should lead the global fight to curb climate change.

There are conservative policies for climate change action. For example, carbon fee and dividend proposals are gaining traction in Republican circles because the plan is revenue neutral, creates jobs and includes the costs of carbon pollution in the pricing of energy. A fee is put on every ton of carbon when it comes into the economy as some form of fossil fuel. The money collected from these fees is then returned as a share to each citizen. The average citizen would receive more money back than he would pay in higher fossil fuel energy costs.

Currently, the costs of carbon pollution are paid by the public, not by the companies that benefit economically from the pollution. This plan introduces the true costs of fossil fuels to the market through the fee mechanism and by ending subsidies for all energy companies. Republicans have a golden opportunity to be leaders for all Americans and the world.

Nicholas Lykling, Waterville

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