A Free-Enterprise Solution To Climate Change

Former United States Congressman Bob Inglis talks about conservative economics and ethics principles for climate action.

Bob Inglis was elected to the United States Congress in 1992 where he represented Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, from 1993-98 and from 2004 to 2010.

In 2011, Inglis went full-time into promoting free enterprise action on climate change and launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI) at George Mason University. In 2014, E&EI re-branded to become RepublicEn.org, a growing grassroots community of over 5000 members educating the country about free-enterprise solutions to climate change. Listen to his presentation that was moderated by Past President Bob McGrath.

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For his work on climate change Inglis was given the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. He appears in the film Merchants of Doubt and in the Showtime series YEARS of Living Dangerously (episodes 3 and 4). He has given talks at the TEDx Jacksonville and TEDx BeaconStreet events and has been interviewed on various national news programs.

He was a resident fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics in 2011, a visiting fellow at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2012, and a resident fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Politics in 2014.

Inglis grew up in the Low country of South Carolina, graduated from Duke and the University of Virginia School of Law and practiced commercial real estate law in Greenville, S.C., before and between his years in Congress. Bob, his wife, and five children live on a small farm in Greenville County.

Program Summary

Bob Inglis, former Republican Congressman from South Carolina and current executive director of RepublicEN.org, presented a program on the conservative case for climate change action. He developed his interest as a result of a congressional science trip to Antarctica where he observed the results of deep core drilling tests that showed an increase in CO2 in the air at the time of the industrial revolution. It is an undisputed fact of science that burning fossil fuels leads to chemical changes in the air. He explained the scientific evidence example that increased CO2 can lead to disappearance of coral reefs by 2050.

His basic philosophy to solving this problem, based on conservative values, is to fix the economic factors that lead to the introduction of CO2 into the air involves a “pay to play” process. In short that would involve a graduated carbon tax that would charge for emitting carbon dioxide and an end of subsidies and tax credits to wind, solar and nuclear groups. This would make the cost of the product reflect its actual price. As a result of this wind, solar and nuclear energy would become cost competitive and there would be an abundance of energy available.

When asked about the rest of world contributing to the CO2 problem, he suggested a border carbon tax from those who want to import to the US and produce goods that don’t follow the CO2 rules. His argument for this was implemented by the thought that other governments would tax the offenders rather than pay the tax to the US. There seems to be growing bipartisan support for several of his comments.

The final factor to determine the success of human activity reducing climate change is timely implementation of policies. Mr. Inglis feels that free enterprise moves more quickly than governments in effecting change, so that is where the best solution lies.

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