Projected sea level rise by 2050 would put Bug Light lighthouse in South Portland underwater oby 2050. Credit: Troy R. Bennett

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The recent Supreme Court  decision limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant engages Milton Friedman’s thinking on the issue of climate change. Friedman, conservative economist and author of “Capitalism and Freedom,” recommended that emissions be taxed, not regulated. He said that “to impose a tax on the amount of pollutants emitted by [for instance] a car,” would make it in the self interest of car manufacturers and consumers to keep down pollution.

Deloitte estimated the gain to the U.S. economy from decarbonizing to be  $3 trillion. If we do nothing, the cost is $14.5 trillion. Decarbonizing the economy, including transportation and the heating and cooling of buildings, is a business opportunity. That’s especially so for Maine with its offshore wind potential, the many solar farms being installed now, and the state’s energy storage goals.

We should proceed towards clean local energy as rapidly as possible. Like others, I’m a fiscal conservative. I care about how money is spent. I invest where it makes sense for the long term, like supporting local, lower cost, clean energy sources. I am particularly concerned about the increasing costs of climate change. So please call Sen. Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, urging them to support carbon pricing in a reconciliation package.

Peter Garrett