The Aug. 14 editorial, “Ignoring climate change puts Mainers at risk,” lays out a major problem with our response to climate change, especially with regard to ticks and the alarming increase in cases of Lyme disease. It makes the point that government should be doing something. The argument for doing nothing seems to be “economy or environment.”

But that’s a foolish dichotomy. The climate-enhanced hurricanes, droughts, floods and wildfires of 2017 cost the U.S. economy $306 billion. If you had an equivalent loss in your family budget, you would quickly make changes.

So what should those changes be? Economists the world over agree that raising the price of carbon fuels (that’s coal, oil and natural gas) is the answer. Burning carbon fuels for our energy needs produces carbon dioxide, which is now 45 percent more abundant in the atmosphere and causes an unnatural thickening of Earth’s greenhouse-gas blanket.

Luckily, clean fuels, specifically solar and wind, are now cheaper to install and operate than carbon-fueled power plants. Even nuclear power plants can be made smaller and safer than the ones that caused us grief in the past.

The best and fairest way to make the switch from carbon to clean is with the economic solution called “Carbon Fee & Dividend.” The annually rising price of carbon fuels would cause industry to innovate in all kinds of ways to reduce power wastage as well as to invent or improve clean power sources.

It would also be fair because the dividend would be distributed equally — you would get thousands of dollars every year, enough to cover higher costs during the transition to clean fuels throughout the economy.

More jobs. A boost to the economy. What’s our government waiting for?

Peter Garrett

Citizens’ Climate Lobby state coordinator

Winslow

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