James Richter’s excellent guest column (July 26) argued that Republican candidates should face climate-change reality because cutting emissions is economically beneficial.

An analysis last week of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative demonstrated that charging for carbon emissions helped the economy and created tens of thousands of jobs in just a few years. That optimistic news bolsters Richter’s argument.

However, GOP candidates, like all politicians, usually avoid initiating change.

Recently, some GOP candidates, feeling pressure to stop denying climate change, started saying that the climate is changing, humans are causing it and we’ll need American ingenuity to design solutions.

This is not an honest, optimistic response because engineers know we already have plenty of high-tech innovations that cut emissions and avoid the worst effects of climate change. Mark Jacobson, of Stanford University, published blueprints for how each state can provide all its energy needs by 2050 without emissions.

GOP candidates know that the U.S. is not implementing existing technologies solely because Congress subsidizes fossil fuels with tax breaks and with permission to continue emitting carbon for free.

Sen. Susan Collins introduced clever carbon pricing legislation in 2010. It’s time for her to introduce similar legislation — charging fossil fuel companies carbon fees and rebating the revenue to the public.

I am optimistic that if Collins introduces legislation, the Pope speaks to Congress in September and the public screams for change, Congress could enact carbon-pricing legislation. Then GOP presidential candidates won’t have to dodge climate change questions with wishful comments about geeky guys in their garages.

Judy Weiss, Brookline, Mass.

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