Many thanks for the excellent series on the Gulf of Maine by Colin Woodard (“Mayday: Gulf of Maine in Distress,” Oct. 25-30). He tells the story of ocean acidification and warming and its current and likely consequences. The Gulf of Maine is in trouble in several ways.

Acidification is caused by excess carbon dioxide dissolving in ocean waters. It makes it difficult for creatures with shells (oysters, mussels, clams and lobsters) to build their shells. As 87 percent of Maine’s seafood harvest is from such creatures, just imagine the enormous economic consequences for Maine.

Warmer waters mean that the dominant fish food (a little copepod the size of a grain of rice) and cold water-loving fish (like salmon and cod) retreat north out of the gulf or into deeper waters. That spells doom for the recovery of those fisheries.

Warmer water also gives advantage to such invaders as the green crab, which can devastate the seagrass beds that are the nurseries for many fisheries. They are voracious eaters of clams and mussels, too.

The gulf has been warming faster than almost any other part of the world’s oceans. And given that we have done little since the 1980s, when Congress was warned to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from industry, transport, heating, electricity generation and industrial agriculture, the warming will continue and acidification will worsen.

All is not lost, however. Our current Republican Congress could get to work on a proposal by none other than George Shultz, President Reagan’s secretary of the treasury. It is called “carbon fee and dividend.” It would pay out a dividend equally to all households from fees levied on fossil fuels at point of extraction.

The proposal would reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution drastically, build the economy and add jobs, many in alternative energy. Please write your members of Congress to tell them so.

Peter Garrett