In this Aug. 31, 2021, file photo, flares burn at the Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Norco, Louisiana. Credit: Gerald Herbert / AP

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First, many thanks to the Bangor Daily News for its continuing coverage of climate change. I believe most Americans know that extreme weather is often worsened by climate change. The increased expenses for disasters such as massive flooding and wildfires is staggering.

The United States is taking aggressive action on several fronts to combat these expensive changes; however, we are one of the few developed nations that has not adopted the most significant change necessary to ensure climate change success and mitigate costs: carbon pricing.

Carbon pricing is about recognizing the unpaid cost of pollution. Fees are collected on coal, natural gas and oil at the point of extraction (mine, gas field and well). Then that money is distributed as “cashback” dividends to households on a per capita basis. Putting a price on carbon pollution drives innovation on the development and use of renewables, such as solar and wind. Frankly, carbon pricing should be the backbone of all our efforts.

So, who is already implementing some good carbon pricing climate policy? How about our neighbors across our northern border. My son and his family of four live in New Brunswick, Canada. Annually they are receiving hundreds of dollars in climate action incentive payments as part of Canada’s carbon pricing program.

Who among us could learn to live with an initiative that reduces climate warming better than any other strategy and rewards them with a nice bit of spending money in the process? I could. What’s not to like?

So how do we implement carbon pricing in our country? That is up to our legislators.

Fortunately, there is a bill in the U.S. House that will do just that: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 5477. Learn more about this bill and then contact U.S. Rep. Jared Golden and urge him to cosponsor the bill. Then, take it a step further and call U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and urge them to introduce a companion carbon pricing bill in the Senate. Let’s tell our lawmakers we want effective climate policy with carbon dividends. The planet and your pocketbook will thank you.

Bill Fackenthall

Old Town