The city of Bath, nestled on the western banks of the Kennebec River, is especially endangered by climate change and rising sea levels. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

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It’s hard to not feel shocked reading the New York Times headline, “Sea Level to Rise a Foot by 2050.” The new NOAA report telling of this drastic change hits hard for Mainers, who need not think in hypotheticals, easily able to picture downtown Bath or Portland’s Old Port beginning to be submerged. As these levels rise, they’ll be accompanied by increasingly severe storms, adding to the flooding and carnage we’re becoming more and more accustomed to.

With such drastic consequences, it’s amazing that the first step of the solution can be so easy. Putting a price on carbon is one of the most effective tools we have to combat climate change and mitigate this scary future we are in the process of writing. A fee and dividend structure, like proposed in H.R. 2307 (co-sponsored by our own Rep. Chellie Pingree), is not only sound policy in fighting climate change, but is also good for mainers and the economy, with the revenue being redistributed in a dividend for every household and thousands of economists around the country lauding its effectiveness.

Now is the time to utilize these effective solutions, and with urgency, as every day we sink lower and lower, both metaphorically and somewhat literally. Climate provisions will be a critical part of the Build Back Better Act, and we must call our representatives in congress, especially Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King as members of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, to support this legislation that Maine desperately needs.

Luke Bartol