Climate change is making more news than ever. It’s also getting more expensive than ever. In the 2020s wildfires, severe weather, droughts, tornadoes, hail, and hurricanes have cost the U.S. $95 billion in climate damages, and the total costs of climate disasters since 1980 is upwards of $1.875 trillion, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The good news is that the carbon emissions that drive global warming are not your fault. Even during the pandemic lockdowns, all key greenhouse gases rose faster in 2020 than 2019. We are not the big polluters. So why are we paying for the many rising costs of climate change?

The other good news, though, is that the reconciliation package still offers a chance to discourage carbon emissions and dodge the worst of climate change’s price tag. The scientific, economic, and business communities (Business Roundtable, American Petroleum Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) all support a climate solution that:

1) avoids big government regulation

2) incentivizes innovation and jobs in renewable energy

3) puts money directly in the pockets of individuals and families

What does all these things? An economy-wide carbon fee and dividend. It’s a climate solution that pays people, and it’s projected to cut America’s costly and dangerous carbon pollution in half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. By charging a fee for emissions produced, it makes direct monthly payments to all Americans to spend as we choose. While big emitters pay more, regular folks can actually come out ahead.

Sens. Collins and King, I’m asking you to support a carbon fee and dividend now. Give Mainers this opportunity to cut the costs of climate change, stay on top of our bills, and stay in the game for a livable planet.

Sorrel Dunn

Harrison

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