At first glance, the frustration voiced in Jonathan Crimmins’ recent article bout LD 434, a bill aimed to price carbon pollution, is well taken. Who wants to pay a higher price for gas or oil? Yet, upon closer reading, it is clear that the fees collected from fossil fuel distributors would be used to reduce the electricity rates of Mainers “in a manner that is equitable and that provides maximum benefit to the economy of the state”. The intention is to encourage the use of electricity (presumably generated from renewable energy) for heating and transportation, thereby lessening dependence on fossil fuels. Legislative committees studying the bill may well decide that refunding the carbon fee through reduced electricity rates may not be the most equitable approach. A low-income Mainer who drives a lot, uses little electricity, and heats with oil may rightly wonder if they are getting the short end of the stick. Whatever the fate of LD 434, Rep. Rykerson’s clear intention in crafting the bill is to reduce our carbon footprint in an attempt to avoid the potential ravages of an overheated world. The science is clear that if we continue with business as usual and do not shift rapidly to a clean energy economy, the habitability of the earth is in the balance. Criticisms that the “bill aims to punish us for living the lives we lead”, or that it “provides easy money for a group whose insatiable appetite for cash knows no bounds” misunderstand the spirit of the bill and do not serve to help in solving the emerging crisis of climate change. We need meaningful collaboration, honest debate, and an abundance of bright ideas to meet this challenge in the limited time-frame called for by science. 
Paul Perkins,