It’s easy to feel powerless when it comes to fighting climate change, but we Mainers have a reason to be optimistic. Maine is the only state fortunate enough to be represented by two senators, independent Angus King and Republican Susan Collins, on the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. This group includes 14 senators in total, meaning Maine has outsized representation of 14%. Compare this to Maine’s percentage of the U.S. population, which is only 0.4%, and you can see that Mainers have real climate clout! We can all help to influence the future course of climate change by letting these senators know how we feel and the policies we support for a more sustainable future.

There are many possible ways to fight climate change and policies you could advocate for. However, if you had to pick just one that would have the single biggest impact on the predicted course of climate change, according to the En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator, it would be to advocate for a carbon fee and dividend.

Why? The U.S. already encourages the production of clean energy, such as wind and solar. But U.S. policy does nothing to discourage the production of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal) that are causing global warming. Most developed nations already do this, so this policy will not disadvantage U.S. trade. Finally, a carbon fee charged to polluters and returned to citizens equally as carbon cash back will financially benefit most households in Maine, especially low- and middle-income households.

Let’s use our outsized climate clout to tell our senators that we support a carbon fee and dividend to stem global warming in an equitable way. This makes environmental and financial sense for Mainers.

Laurie Manos, Harpswell