Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are the only Senate Democrats not supporting Biden’s 10-year, $3.5 trillion government overhaul.

In a Sept. 2 Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Sen. Manchin wrote, “What should we fund and what can we simply not afford?”

We must keep in mind that the $3.5 trillion proposed is to be spent over a period of 10 years. And what of the costs of climate-driven disasters? According to NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information, “The U.S. has sustained 298 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2021). The total cost of these 298 events exceeds $1.975 trillion.”

This does not include loss of life, health care related losses, and natural resource destruction. Immediate, robust mitigation today, will lessen the costs of adaptation and suffering in the future.

A carbon cash back policy, being considered in the reconciliation process, would help meet America’s emission targets without additional government spending. Disincentivizing the use of fossil fuels through fees on polluters, will spur innovation in a technology-neutral manner.

The objective is reached, but individuals, organizations, municipalities and businesses choose the most appropriate technologies to meet their own energy needs. Households receive a dividend check, spending the cash as they choose.

Yale Climate Opinion maps show Maine District 2 is worried about climate change. Sen. Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden must support reconciliation.

We urgently need to fund climate, jobs and justice. We simply cannot afford inaction and suffering.

Roberta Brezinski, Durham

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