Edgar Allen Beem was mistaken in his Jan. 25 column that Republicans concerned about the environment no longer exist. They do exist, even in Maine. The Climate Solutions Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives was founded in February 2016 by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Florida, to educate members on economically viable options to reduce climate risk. The caucus currently has 20 members: 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, and will not accept new Democratic members without a Republican counterpart. Although five Republican members were voted out of office in November, five more have joined, and the caucus will continue growing. Second District Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin is not unsympathetic. Perhaps if Poliquin hears from enough of his constituents that climate change is important to them, he may join as well.
Citizen’s Climate Lobby, which strongly supports the caucus and is currently focusing on federal Republican-sponsored climate fee and dividend legislation, has its own conservative caucus with nearly 3,000 members, some of whom belong to Maine chapters. Carbon fee and dividend, a significant step towards curtailing climate change, is attractive to Republicans because it is a market-based strategy that will not grow government. It entails levying a steadily increasing fee on carbon at the source, sending a market signal that investment in alternative energy will increase profitability. Net fees are redistributed to American households to offset increased costs and to pay for household improvements.
Climate change affects everyone, and carbon fee and dividend is mutually beneficial to us all.
Sarah M. Braik