Sea Coast Online –
This headline was shocking when it appeared in the Herald on April 3. Eighty percent in 10 years in spite of widespread efforts to recover codfish all that time. What is going on? As it happened, I had the good fortune to run across a couple of recent studies of the Gulf of Maine that gave me some insight. Yes, overfishing has been an issue, but there is more. The biggest factor is rising water temperatures which directly affect the cod; coupled with this are changes in the food stock and incidence of predators for the cod. The result is measurable climate change, 80 percent drop in population over 10 years.
The driver of climate change, of course, is burning of fossil fuels. Economists tell us that the best way to lower consumption of something is to tax it. The carbon tax alone, however, is a drag on the economy and a burden to the poorest citizens. However, it turns out that if the funds from the tax are distributed to households instead of going to government programs, everyone wins. This is called the carbon fee and dividend.
Establishing a carbon fee and dividend takes an act of Congress. The good news is that 17 Republican congressmen recently authored a resolution calling upon Congress to act on climate change. And there is a bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus, of which Congresswoman Ann Kuster, is a member; it is now up to 38 members. I wonder when Carol Shea Porter, a strong environmental advocate, will join this group.