The U.N. Secretary General, António Guterres, warned global leaders that we all risk “runaway” global warming if they do not rein in carbon emissions. Since preindustrial times the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased over 43 percent; and each year despite unenforceable, voluntary global carbon emission targets, the amount of carbon dioxide that we spew increases.  The average global temperature of the earth is in lockstep with the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

We are experiencing the dire consequences of global warming. Hurricane Florence, dumped 1 trillion gallons of water on the Carolinas. Over a week after making landfall, waters are still rising; homes are still flooded, fellow Americans are still displaced and wondering what their homes and towns will be like when the water recedes. Scientists are attributing a 50 percent increase in rainfall from the storm to global warming. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold and dump.

A new climate assessment for California, written by peer-reviewed scientists, made it clear that the devastating wildfires, floods, droughts and sea level rise that Californians are experiencing will continue and be worse and worse as carbon emissions worldwide rise.  Despite California lawmakers committing their state to 100 percent zero carbon electricity by 2045 and despite California being the fifth largest economy, as long as the rest of the world continues with piecemeal sustainability projects, California’s efforts alone will not stop “runaway” global warming.

We in Maine are not immune. We broke many records for extreme dew points this summer. Maine has a long coastline thanks to the glaciers. That means sea level rise could damage our marshes, beaches, infrastructure along the coast, and property on the shore. Being a home rule state, municipalities will be footing the infrastructure bills. Mainers will experience more extreme storms like the October 29, 2017 storm which blew down trees and knocked out power for up to a week in parts of the state.

It is important to note that the U.N. Secretary General is asking global leaders to take action.

 What action? What leaders?


We need our national leaders, our Members of Congress, to advocate for and educate us, their constituents, on a national solution for lowering carbon emissions quickly and efficiently, at the lowest cost, with the greatest transparency.

We need a national policy that will endure and will not be repealed every time a different party gains control of the levers of government. We need a bipartisan solution. We need a policy that businesses can incorporate into their long-term planning and does not vary from state to state. We need a policy that will lower emissions in every sector of the economy.

A solution, backed by nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby, business groups and conservative groups such as Climate Leadership Council, is Carbon Fee (Tax) and Dividend. Multiple studies have shown that a carbon fee will quickly reduce carbon emissions in the most cost effective way. The carbon fee uses the market (i.e. price) to fix the pollution problem.

Under the Carbon Fee and Dividend policy, all the revenue from the fee would be returned to American households as a monthly dividend, which will protect two-thirds of American households from the pain of increased prices due to the carbon fee.

The dividend also means the policy will be revenue neutral and will not grow the government.

Such a policy will spur innovation and move the American economy to a clean energy economy. Already other countries have instituted various carbon pricing schemes. It is time for the United States to lead.

Write to Sen. King, Sen. Collins, Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Poliquin and tell them it is time to implement a bipartisan solution to an apocalyptic threat.

Dodie Jones lives in Brunswick.

Comments are not available on this story.