The Portland Press Herald recently published two letters (“Teens, adults can combat climate change by limiting consumption,” Sept. 20; “Take small steps on your own time to fight climate change,” Sept. 21) advocating consuming and traveling less, turning off lights when one leaves a room and other individual activities that will reduce carbon footprints and prove one’s seriousness about fighting climate change.

As well-intentioned as these letters are, let us put the issue in perspective. Without a global and national incentive for everybody – consumers, producers, governments – to reduce carbon emissions, we will not meet greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets that protect the planet from disastrous weather events and substantial economic damage.

A bipartisan bill now in the U.S. House, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763), will provide economy-wide motivation. Under HR 763 a steadily rising fee is placed on the carbon content of fossil fuels. Facing continuously higher prices of goods containing carbon, consumers – families, businesses, governments, investors – conserve and find lower-carbon alternatives. HR 763 is progressive. It legislates that the revenues from the fee be sent back to American households on an equal basis as a carbon dividend. Lower- and middle-income families break even or do better under this climate policy. Importantly, HR 763 will meet greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets.

Thank U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree for co-sponsoring HR 763. Ask Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to support a similar bill in the Senate.

Dodie Jones

member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Bath-Brunswick Chapter


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