2017-11-03 / Letters

Time for leaders to address climate change

To the editor:

Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins (R) and her colleague Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) deserve kudos for requesting a data driven report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the financial impact of climate change.

The GAO report, released last week, puts the price tag for climate change-related extreme weather events at $1 trillion by 2039.

The price is closer to $6 trillion if events continue at this year’s frantic pace, since Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, combined with drought-fueled fires in California, have caused up to $300 billion in damage.

Why did Collins request this study? Collins notes Maine is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, since “our economy is inextricably linked to the environment” and since “we are experiencing a real change in the sea life” which impacts all Mainers, “including those who work in our iconic lobster industry.”

Studies suggest that the Gulf of Maine is warming more rapidly than almost any other place on Earth.

What can be done? Carbon fee and dividend is a market-based approach gaining strong bipartisan support.

It puts a price tag on carbon dioxide pollution, and collected fees are returned to U.S. citizens in the form of regular dividend checks.

Citizens Climate Lobby (a volunteer-driven organization with a chapter in York County and referred to in a letter in last week’s Post) is promoting one such plan. Its study shows that the majority of Maine residents would experience a net benefit, with dividend checks off-setting any increase in fuel prices.

Given a trillion dollar price tag and a ruined Gulf of Maine as the cost of inaction, it’s past time for our national leaders to address the issue of climate change.

Jennifer Niese

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