Former congressman urges conservatives to partake in climate change conversation

Justin Lo

Bob Inglis, formally a Republican congressman from South Carolina, spoke to 134 audience members about offering suggestions to reach out to the political right to become more aware of the decline of the environment. He also urged conservatives to be involved in the conversation on climate change.

“There was a new constituency I had to respond to,” Inglis said.

Throughout his time in Congress, a series of events led Inglis to believe that the human population was negatively affecting the environment.

The first instance was during a trip to Antarctica when Inglis observed a 5,000-foot slab of ice that contained trapped carbon dioxide. What this ice sample showed was a steady incline in trapped carbon dioxide followed by a huge increase of the greenhouse gas during the Industrial Revolution.

When residents in Inglis’ home state of South Carolina burned dead trees in their fireplace, Inglis became aware that the carbon dioxide inside of those trees was being released into the atmosphere.

Inglis said there is too much carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere through human activities and that, in turn, is raising average temperatures in various places in the world.

A trip to the Great Barrier Reef and witnessing coral bleaching gave Inglis a third reason to believe that global climate change happens. After this trip, Inglis introduced the Raise Wages/Cut Carbon Act of 2009 to Congress.

Inglis proposed to eliminate subsidies for all fuel, electric cars and alternative energy sources.

“The production tax credit for wind actually punishes nuclear [energy] and is going to cause an increase in global emissions and greenhouse gases,” Inglis said.

Imposing a border-adjustable carbon tax for goods being imported from other countries was Inglis’ main solution for holding polluters accountable for the emissions they cause.

Democrats in the audience welcomed the opinion of congressman Inglis about climate change but felt that he did not address a viable solution for addressing the issue.

“He totally left out what we do about the consequences when climate disasters happen,” said Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids. “Iowa has suffered over $20 billion in flood damage over the last 25 years.”

When talking to the audience about looking back on his time in Congress, Inglis explained that humans are tribal, but there is some hope that this country will return to a sense of normalcy.

“Somehow we’ve got to get this country to the place where we can see from the perspective of the other tribe and we can do that,” Inglis said.