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Bob Inglis: Courage Fails Conservatives on Energy and Climate

03 Oct 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Climate Change, Congress, General Environment, General Political

Being a Conservative means standing behind climate science, former U.S. Representative Bob Inglis insisted in a Bloomberg Businessweek Op-Ed on Monday.

Inglis, a Republican who represented South Carolina’s 4th district between 1993 to 1999 and from 2005 – 2011, challenged the current anti-science mentality of many Republican candidates when it come to the issue of climate change and argued that such a mentality goes against conservative values.

Inglis pointed to two recent polls--one that found that 95 percent of scientists agree that the earth is warming, and another that showed that only 13 percent of the public knew that the the scientific community had reached such a consensus. “You would expect conservatives to stand with 95 percent of the scientific community and to grow the 13 percent into a working majority.” Inglis wrote. Normally Republicans “deal in facts,” said Inglis, and stand for the truth even though such positions often “get us in trouble with sizable constituencies.”

Yet with an anti-climate science stance, Republicans have overlooked their conservative values. “Courage fails us when it comes to energy and climate,” he continued. “Fearing our economic circumstances, we’ve decided to channel the fear rather than to confront it. Some conservatives even allege that the scientific conclusion about climate change is affected by the flow of grant money -- a conflict of interest that we overlook when taking the drug Lipitor, even though the tests proving its efficacy were financed by its maker, Pfizer. Conservatives seem to think that climate change is for elitists, enviros and Democrats, not hard-working, God-fearing Republicans.”

While Republicans may ultimately come up with a different solution than Democrats to address climate change, Inglis stressed, the party cannot continue to deny it altogether. The hidden costs of doing so—both economically and from a public health standpoint—are far too great to ignore.

Inglis' comments come at a time when the most anti-environment House in history prepares to launch yet another week of anti-EPA and anti-climate change science legislation.

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