On Feb. 21, the Press Herald reported (Page B1) on people recording sea-level rise in Casco Bay, due in part to climate change. What to do?

Consider supporting HR 763, introduced to the House in January with the goal of charging fossil fuel companies for the garbage – gases – they send into our atmosphere. Fees collected would be sent as dividends directly to households to help citizens afford to transition to clean energy.

Too untried a notion? British Columbia has been pricing carbon since 2013, and all other Canadian provinces have since followed suit. Results: Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission reports, “Economists are virtually unanimous in the view that carbon pricing reduces greenhouse-gas emissions at the lowest possible cost to the economy.”

Interestingly, two leading sponsors (one a Republican, the other a Democrat) of HR 763 are from low-lying Florida, where rising seas flood more property than in Maine. (What is the elevation of Mar-A-Lago?)

The Green New Deal also seeks to curb carbon emissions, but it is merely a resolution, not a bill. If passed, it will likely prompt bills eventually, but HR 763 is an already-introduced bill, a “bird in the hand,” and time is growing very short. A recent U.N. report warns that there are only 12 years left to cut emissions before climate changes will lead to suffering and poverty for millions. We must act before that 12-year deadline.

Although some countries have been pricing carbon for years, too many U.S. citizens consider such action as a strange new idea. Consider this observation by author Frances Hodgson Burnett: “At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done – then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”

Let’s act now! Ask Maine’s congressional delegation to support HR 763.

Fern Stearns

Hallowell


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