Years ago when scientists first became alarmed about climate change they predicted that if we didn’t soon do something to reduce harmful gas emissions, children would one day ask, “Mom, Dad, why didn’t you do something?” Now, decades later, children themselves are doing something: becoming activists, speaking up. At the recent climate conference in Poland, a 15-year-old said, “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than on what is politically possible, there is no hope.”

Indeed, even though many prominent economists and former politicians have for years advocated for pricing carbon emissions, Congress has not done so because it didn’t seem to be politically possible. Finally, finally, some members of Congress have focused on what needs to be done: in Congress’ last session bills were introduced in both the House and Senate to put a price on carbon emissions. Each of the two energy bills is sponsored by members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. If — when — this effort to price carbon succeeds, the fees collected will be returned to people; harmful gas emissions will be reduced by at least 90 percent by 2050; and 2.1 million new jobs will be created in 10 years, according to an independent study done by Regional Economic Models Inc. What’s not to like?

So there is hope: carbon pricing is needed and such pricing seems politically possible.

In its Dec. 20 newsletter, the Natural Resources Council of Maine opened its paragraph on this topic with, “It’s Past Time to Act on Climate.” I ask our representatives in Congress, are you listening?

Fern Stearns


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