Enviro Political Revolution

Conservative and Concerned About Climate Change? You’re Not Alone. (Link)

Some Republican conservatives DO understand the dangers of climate change. Former U.S. Representative for South Carolina Bob Inglis is the founder of RepublicEn, a community of “energy optimists and climate realists.” They know climate change is real, and they believe that the natural balancing mechanism of a free enterprise can solve the problem – in short, fossil fuel subsidies must end!

This Man Is America’s Best Hope for Near-Term Climate Action

(Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.)

Conservative climate champions are often laughed off or ignored But what’s happening within the American political right could change everything, and fast.

Each year since 1989, the JFK Library bestows its Profile in Courage award to a public servant who takes a principled but unpopular position. This year, the award went to Bob Inglis, a former congressman from South Carolina who’s turned into America’s best hope for near-term climate action. Oh, he’s also a Republican.

As you might expect, Inglis wasn’t always a climate campaigner. In his acceptance speech last week at the JFK Library in Boston, he described how and why he changed his mind on global warming:

Inglis served in Congress for 12 nonconsecutive years, but once his children reached voting age, they persuaded him to take a closer look at climate science. Inglis traveled to Antarctica – twice – and his conversations with scientists there convinced him climate change was a growing threat that everyone, especially conservatives, needed to take more seriously. Science, plus his deep Christian faith, convinced Inglis that taking action on climate – and saving countless lives in the process – was the right thing to do. Almost immediately, he began advocating for carbon pricing: He argued that it would be good for business and the environment. He even began looking to Canada for inspiration. Since 2008, the government of British Columbia has had in place arguably the most successful climate policy on the planet. During a 2009 speech on the House floor, he called an American plan for a British Columbia–style revenue-neutral carbon tax a “fabulous opportunity.”

— Eric Holthaus, Slate

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • I recently learned that more than half the members of the House and Senate received campaign donations from the Koch brothers, the main funders (along with Exon) of the climate denial movement. As long as fossil fuel billionaires are allowed to run our so-called democratic government, I expect little change at the federal level.

    I think most change will occur at the local and state level, with far sighted business entrepreneurs taking the lead in many states. California (which has a larger population than many European countries) has clearly taken the lead in setting strict emission reduction targets.

    • Yes. Corrupt Money is behind everything. It is vital to get money out of politics. Whether progressive or conservative, an honest debate on genuinely disputed ideas/issues is what Democracy needs – not political conflict of interests, not voting to favor powerful donors.

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