A Bipartisanship Solution to Climate Change

Former Congressman Bob Inglis is an unabashed Southern Republican Conservative. And you may not abide with his positions on gun control or abortion, but you gotta love his full-on dedication to halting climate change.  Since he left office in 2010, Inglis spends his days trying to convince fellow Republicans to support initiatives to curb global warming—particularly the reduction of the use of fossil fuels.

Inglis, founder of RepublicEN, a nonprofit promoting free enterprise as a means to fight climate change, spoke last week to about 300 at the Rochester Convention Center, mostly liberal Democrats. How do I know this? Soon after taking the stage, Inglis asked the audience to raise their hands when he called out their political affiliation. Only a smattering identified as right of center.

And therein lies the challenge, says Inglis. To save the planet, environmentalists must get more Republicans on board because effective, long-term solutions to global warming are impossible without bipartisan support, he believes. Inglis is making headway—slowly. According to the republicEn.org website, the organization currently has 7,670 members—“conservatives, libertarians, and pragmatists of diverse political opinion” who believe “free enterprise can deliver the innovation to solve climate change.”

Inglis schooled his Rochester audience. How do you best change hearts and minds as the earth gets toastier every year? By using a one-on-one, gentle, non-preachy approach. Raise issues climate deniers care about. For example, if your uncle likes to fish, you could describe how warming temperatures are affecting fish and their ecosystem.

The former Congressman is hawking a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The producers of fossil fuels would pay for the bulk of this fee, which would correct the artificially cheap cost of fossil fuels made possible by subsidies. Inglis believes Republican will support this market-driven solution.  Anti government regulation, he cites studies show that a carbon tax can reduce U.S. carbon emissions faster and more effectively(https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/comparing-effectiveness-climate-regulations-carbon-tax-123/) than regulations. 

Apart from destruction to our planet, why should we gnash our teeth over  subsidies to the fossil fuel industry? “Climate damages stemming from carbon dioxide emissions cost the U.S. billions each year and the American taxpayer foots the bill,” according to RepublicEN.

The carbon tax would be revenue-neutral, meaning that 100 percent of the tax money would be returned to the American people through monthly dividend payments or a tax refund. Inglis likes the idea that the tax would also be border-adjustable, meaning countries that don’t have a comparable price on carbon pollution would be require to pay a fee on imports. This would help keep the U.S. competitive in the global market, as well as entices our trading partners to enact their own carbon tax policy, Inglis says.

The realtor was elected to Congress in 1992, representing Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina from 1993-1998. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1998.  In 2004, he was re-elected to Congress where he served until 2010, when he lost the South Carolina Republican primary.

For his work on climate change, Inglis was given the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.