Readers write: carbon fees; image of the times; inspirational African-Americans

Letters to the editor for the Sept. 14, 2015, weekly magazine.

Jim Cole/AP/File
In this Jan. 20 photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. President Barack Obama on Monday will unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing US power plants. The Obama administration first proposed the rule last year. Opponents plan to sue immediately to stop the rule's implementation.

Carbon fees will help US economy
Regarding the Aug. 17 & 24 One Week article “Plan puts US at climate forefront”: Unfortunately, this regulatory approach was the only available option, because Republicans have effectively blocked any action by Congress. It’s time for Republicans to stop just saying no, and instead offer an alternative. Why not carbon fee and dividend? A gradually rising revenue-neutral fee on carbon with all proceeds returned to the public would be effective and transparent, and would satisfy their stated goals of avoiding regulation and limiting government expansion. The steady signal to business would spur market-based solutions. By returning the entire fee to the public, the money would be recycled into the economy, creating millions of jobs, while also shielding Americans from the increased costs of fossil fuels.
Cynthia Mahoney
Danville, Calif.

A photo for our times
The photo on page 19 of the Aug. 31 issue (“Another day, another influx”) of a Spanish tourist walking past a rubber dinghy of arriving Pakistani migrants should become as iconic an image of this decade as the naked Vietnamese child of the 1970s and the wide-eyed Afghan girl of the 1980s. Could there ever be any more dramatic a contrast of culture, class, and compassion?
Lyn Martin
Corvallis, Ore.

African-Americans who inspire
Regarding the Sept. 7 review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book, “Between the World and Me”: As a white teenager in 1960s Toronto, I read James Baldwin at the prompting of my mother. To Canadians, the US racial struggles of the past 60 years have been both horrific and inspiring. How wonderful to be featuring in your weekly magazine both the legacy of a two-term black president and a new James Baldwin in Mr. Coates. President Obama and Coates (in their own ways) both have given needed “hope” to the world.
Rob Sherman

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