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Letter to the Editor by Patrick White

When reading last week’s publication, I was so glad to see Maine’s new Climate Action Plan garner much-deserved attention. That said, the opinion editor himself raised an important point: fiscal responsibility. While the scientific consensus regarding climate change has been clear, answers surrounding the financial considerations of environmental action have traditionally remained less certain. Also uncertain is the infrastructure of the national climate agenda that Maine-specific endeavors will operate within. This precariousness can be clarified comprehensively by Congress implementing the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan.

Maine’s Climate Action Plan lays out four main goals: reduce emissions, avoid the impacts of inaction, foster economic opportunity, and advance equity. Baker-Shultz would perfectly augment this vision by implementing a gradually rising price on carbon and rebating the revenue directly to the American people.

In terms of emissions reductions, Baker-Shultz would achieve a 57% cut nationwide in the next 15 years. This is a rate that exceeds the Obama-era regulations and Paris Accords and puts us well on the governor’s track for carbon neutrality by 2050. This avoids the staggering costs of further government inaction, and the plan’s wide bipartisan support makes it primed to burst through our current partisan gridlock.

Much of Baker-Shultz’s appeal stems from its economic potential. By 2035, this proposal would create 1.6 million jobs and spur $1.4 trillion in capital innovation — all while adding nothing to the federal deficit. Furthermore, the dividend payment would yield the average family of four $2,000 per year and put the bottom 90% of Mainers ahead. Such widespread developments would be especially meaningful as we finally begin to turn the page from COVID-19.

In short, the goals of Maine’s Climate Action plan are the bold, admirable steps our state so desperately needs. Nationally, these efforts would be made that much more effective and equitable if implemented under a federal framework that reflects them. Baker-Shultz clearly can be, and should be, that answer.

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