The Oct. 18 article, “Lower heating oil prices could spark complacency about energy efficiency,” touches on one of the most difficult problems in addressing climate change in Maine.

Even though lower heating prices are great because heating costs are such a large part of our budgets, we need to start using the savings from cheaper oil years to increase the efficiency of our homes and cars in preparation for the next price increase.

That small step could make a big difference in energy use by and savings for Mainers. On a national level, carbon fee and dividend legislation could significantly decrease carbon emissions in America while creating incentives for people to increase efficiency.

Carbon fee and dividend legislation would place a fee on all carbon emissions. All of the revenue from that fee would be returned to Americans in monthly dividend payments. At least two-thirds of people would come out even or ahead. This extra money then could be used to increase energy efficiency in homes and businesses, thus saving even more money.

Scientists agree that climate change is an urgent issue, yet many people, particularly politicians, are afraid of acting on this scientific evidence because they are afraid of the solutions. Fortunately, effective solutions such as carbon fee and dividend exist.

A 2014 study by Regional Economic Models Inc., showed that carbon fee and dividend would boost the economy and create millions of jobs, all while significantly decreasing carbon emissions. A similar plan has been both effective and popular in British Columbia since 2008.

I appreciate the leadership of Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King on this issue, and urge all Mainers to support carbon fee and dividend, a policy that can affect climate change while building a stronger and more sustainable Maine.

Caroline Karnes


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