John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate gestures during a press conference at the end of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Credit: Alberto Pezzali / AP

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

Climate change is the defining issue of our times. Students like me are prepared to face worsening climate effects for the majority of our lifetime. It’s estimated that by 2100 climate change could cost the world $600 trillion. In Maine, much of our cherished national environment is at risk, and we’ll see an increase in problems like Lyme Disease

Tragically, Republicans in Congress are not willing to budge from their stead-fast opposition to any climate measure, eager to protect their fossil-fuel donors. When Democrats like Rep. Jared Golden consider the best ways to reduce carbon and slow climate change, they should strongly consider a carbon dividends program.

This program would put a price on carbon and send the dividends from this price back to the American people through monthly checks. It would include a carbon border adjustment tax which would punish countries not doing their fair share on climate, and could streamline climate regulations from the Obama and Biden presidencies. This policy is effective; studies have shown it could cut carbon more than every Obama climate policy combined, and it could be popular. Voters will support a policy that protects the planet and increases 80 percent of Americans’ incomes, and even Republicans may choose to help their constituents and streamline environmental regulations.

In 2019 a group of more than 3,600 economists, the most ever united on one issue, released a statement arguing that a carbon price is the most efficient way to deal with climate change. It’s time for Congress to act.

Emmett Shell