Your publication of the Washington Post’s editorial on climate change (“Hedging risks as the seas rise,” April 2) points out the complications and difficulties involved in understanding and managing our Earth. We have spent the last century conducting an experiment by emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and are near a point where we may not be able to slow or stop the resultant climate instability that has created.

As the editorial correctly points out, there are many uncertainties and variables that will influence the pace of climate change. One variable we have control over is the rate of carbon emissions. We can do that using market forces to encourage shifts from carbon-intensive energy to other sources. A carbon fee and dividend would impose a fee on carbon production at the point of production or import, and return the proceeds to citizens. Maine would benefit both economically and environmentally from this process, as we would receive more in dividends than we would pay for carbon-based fuels.

The fee, which would be predictably raised over time, would encourage investors and businesses to move away from carbon-based energy to other sources, including solar, wind, and hydropower. All of these would be good for Maine, and the program would help to retard climate change. We need to take action on many fronts, and a carbon fee and dividend would set a good direction for that action.

Andy Tolman