Bob Inglis was a congressman from South Carolina who had a prepared shtick on why climate change was hooey.
In a TEDx video, Inglis describes how, during a speech, he’d show a pile of coal on stage and then say that Democrats wanted to make it more expensive for everybody to heat their homes.
This act worked great for a few years. But then Inglis got a new constituency. When his son turned 18, he told his dad that he’d vote for him but with one condition: That his dad clean up his act on climate.
His wife and the rest of his family made the same request. And since, as Inglis says, they all could change the locks on the doors, he knew he had to change.
So, Inglis learned about climate science. He took a couple trips to Antarctica to see ice core data — that CO2 was at steady levels for millennia until it showed a sharp rise in the Industrial Revolution. He even went scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef, viewing coral bleaching with an Australian climate scientist who shared Inglis’s religious faith and love for God’s creation.
Thus, a deeply conservative congressman from the reddest of red states became an advocate for solutions for climate change.
But not the traditional approach of regulations on pollution by the EPA. Instead, Inglis promoted a free-market approach, by cutting income taxes on the one hand and raising taxes on polluting energy on the other.
“It’s bed-rock conservatism,” Inglis says. He even wants to cut EPA regulations along with subsidies for energy sources, including solar. He agrees with other conservatives that Solyndra was bad and that the government shouldn’t give subsidies to energy companies.
And he thinks that the biggest subsidy of all is letting dirty energy companies emit carbon without having to pay for the privilege.
Inglis, who founded RepublicEN, a group for conservatives who believe climate science and want free-market solutions, thinks that America can beat climate change. But only if people across the political spectrum work together — and speak each other’s language.
Conservatives shouldn’t deny sound climate science just because Al Gore talks about it. We need to stop trying to beat the other team and start working together on the same team for energy independence.
And progressives shouldn’t talk about climate solutions as a kind of sacrifice. They shouldn’t say that if we want to effectively fight climate change we’ll have to live with LESS (maybe having to shiver or sweat in the dark). Instead, they should talk about lighting up the world with clean energy, bringing freedom and mobility to millions of people in the developing world.
— Erik Curren, The Solar Patriot