We’re All in This Together
Climate Solutions Beyond Your Backyard
Maine’s Outsized Role in Climate Policy
By Peter Dugas
Since its inception, this monthly column has focused on creating the political will for effective and equitable climate solutions. While many of us have worked to reduce our carbon footprints, the truth is that as laudable as those efforts are, there is little hope we can avoid climate disaster by relying solely on individual virtue.
Climate policy must have two essential design features: (1) It must be effective in reducing the greenhouse gases driving climate change and (2) it must protect the poor. While comparing all possible policies, a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy (“carbon cash-back”) is singularly beneficial on both fronts.
According to independent analysis (see M.I.T.’s EnROADS climate simulator, en-roads.climateinteractive.org), carbon pricing policies like the bipartisan Energy Innovation Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) does more to reduce projected temperature increases than any other single policy.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states “carbon prices remain a necessary condition of ambitious climate policies,” or as Columbia University climate authority Noah Kauffman says, “With a gradually increasing price on carbon emissions, we have a chance, without it we don’t.”
By returning 100% of the carbon fee as a monthly check, Carbon Fee and Dividend would predominantly benefit low- and middle-income Americans who have a smaller carbon footprint than their wealthier neighbors – who should be incentivized to de-carbonize their lifestyles. Furthermore, Carbon Fee and Dividend enjoys high approval from both parties, ensuring its political resilience.
President-elect Joe Biden has shown addressing climate change will be a top priority. As Mainers, we enjoy an outsized capacity to help lawmakers implement the best possible climate policy, since we are the only state with both Senators on the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group that has been studying potential climate policies using En-ROADS.
Maine volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby have been meeting with Senators King and Collins for many years. While they have been working on smaller climate bills, we hope that our upcoming meetings will move them closer to this economy-wide climate policy. Through our Climate Council, Mainers have been working hard to address our carbon emissions – a mere 0.32% of the national total. Imagine if a similar lobbying effort was applied to Senators King and Collins!
As we approach 2021, please consider joining the 195,000+ Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers working to create the political will for a livable future!
Submitted by Peter Dugas a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. For more information visit citizensclimatelobby.org.