The past month’s news-of-the-day has been nail-biting: potentially radical changes in health care coverage, Russian election interference, and our White House reality TV show.

But that’s all a diversion to what Congress needs to cover, namely to stem the tide of climate change. Are present-day costs of battling wildfires, together with potential disaster costs of rising sea levels, not enough to galvanize action? Human-caused climate change is slow compared to a human life span, but is now 10 times faster than the natural climate change that ended the last Ice Age, and increasing.

The cause, demonstrated by climate scientists the world over, are emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels (together with other gases including methane, CHFCs and ozone). They are the greenhouse gases that keep more of the sun’s heat in our atmosphere and oceans.

So what’s the cure?

Conservative economists all agree it is to impose a steadily increasing price on CO2 emissions (at the coal mine and oil/gas well) not as a tax to support government programs, but by giving the money back to people in equitable shares as a dividend. Economic modeling has shown it building the economy, adding jobs, and stimulating innovation by industry.

The dividends would for 70 percent of people, according to a Treasury Department study, be greater than the increased cost of goods. And of course slowing or stopping the burning would also pay health dividends with cleaner air.


So let’s put our trust in the courage already demonstrated by our Sen. Susan Collins, who understands the need for action on climate change, and Sen. Angus King, who knows the science. Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree have both expressed interest in joining the House Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which is considering proposing such a plan in the near future.

Peter Garrett, Ph.D.

Mid Maine group leader, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

ME, NH, VT states coordinator


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