Bob Inglis: Conservatives Have A Climate Solution

by Marcia G. Yerman via Moms Clean Air Force

“Conservatives have the answer. We just need to raise our hands.” This statement is from Bob Inglis, former representative of South Carolina’s 4th District. Inglis told me he believes Conservatives are an “indispensible part of the solution” to energy and environmental issues.

We spoke by telephone in a conversation that covered topics from the background of his grassroots organization, Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI), to his thoughts on fracking and renewable energy. His attitude was upbeat. He is convinced that “free enterprise and accountability” can pave the way toward solving America’s energy concerns.

Inglis was clear about the need for Conservatives and Republicans to “step up and lead.” He noted that the “climate change matter was started by liberals,” so Conservatives think they have no place in the dialogue. His response to this is, “Don’t shrink in science denial.”

Admitting that the Republican Party is “perceived as being against climate change,” he acknowledged, “That is what dominant voices are promoting.” He added, “My party has been engaged in a detour of populist rejectionism.” Rejecting their rejectionism, he said, “I’m very optimistic that things are beginning to turn, and that Republicans will be offering solutions and not looking for scapegoats.”

Inglis opined, “As the economy improves, I think my party is going to have to offer up real solutions to succeed. You can’t just sow discontent.” One of the top catalysts Inglis sees is what he calls, “The generational challenge.” He pointed out, “Young people are more inclined to accept science—and they want solutions.”

So what exactly are Inglis’s solutions to the climate issue?

He believes there are “three pillars” to a conservative and free-market solution to energy and climate policy:

  • Eliminate all subsidies for all fuels, from fossil fuels to renewables
  • Attach all costs to all fuels—in order to get a true cost comparison
  • Ensure revenue neutrality, to prevent the growth of government

On the importance of all forms of energy being held “fully accountable” for how they impact the environment, Inglis suggested, “Let the government be the cop on the beat.” (Ironically, he does not support EPA regulation of carbon, defining it as “costly, cumbersome, and litigious.”) In the long run, he deems price signals as being more effective than government regulations.

Inglis promotes the premise of a “100 percent revenue-neutral carbon tax.” This tax would be paired dollar for dollar with a reduction in a pre-existing tax—thereby reducing taxes elsewhere. “No growth of government here,” he stressed.

“If you set the economics right, the consumer will drive innovation. That will include renewables, and we will have exciting breakthroughs.” Inglis explained that a carbon tax would bring a realization, through comparison, that the cost of green energy is closer to the actual cost of fossil fuels. Repeatedly referencing the phrase “true cost comparisons between fuels,” Inglis underscored the health related fallout from fossil fuels—impacting lives as well as the economy.

Taking a page out of the book of the insurance sector, Inglis emphasized that insurance companies were “natural allies of Conservatives in Congress.” He said, “They have actuaries who listen very carefully to scientists.”

Seeing natural gas as a fuel to combine with wind and solar initiatives, Inglis stated that fracking companies must disclose the chemicals they are using in their process, noting that as of yet, they haven’t been forthcoming with their “recipe.” He grants that fracking has problems, such as “the escape of natural gas” during the process, yet sees coal as having more drawbacks. He reiterated that he supported fracking, but wanted to see it done “in a safe way with appropriate standards.” He appended his thought with the assertion, “There’s no perfect solution.” This conundrum came up again when Inglis discussed his support of nuclear power. On the concern of nuclear waste, he responded, “You store it responsibly. Everything has a trade off.”

Inglis’s record in Congress during his tenure shows that he was willing to vote “against” his party on various bills. He was also one of the numerous causalities of the Tea Party’s impact during the Republican primaries of 2010,

Trey Gowdy now represents the 4th District of South Carolina. During a debate for the seat in 2010, the question of whether “climate change was man-made” was raised. Gowdy’s response was, “Global warming has not been proven to the satisfaction of the constituents I seek to serve.”

Promoting the Energy Enterprise Initiative tag line of, “Putting free enterprise to work on energy and climate,” Inglis remains tenacious in bringing a different perspective to the existing equations, bringing Conservative thinkers into the environmental space, and broadening the circle of participants.


Marcia G. Yerman is a mom and freelance writer focusing on Women’s Issues, the Environment, Human Rights, and the Arts. Reprinted from Moms Clean Air Force with permission.

51 Responses to Bob Inglis: Conservatives Have A Climate Solution

  1. Jamie Ross says:

    So – an ex-representative says stuff to make the GOP look not completely insane. Great!

    Unfortunately, the GOP votes out people like him.

  2. Jamie Ross says:

    sorry to be repetitive – but this “bringing conservatives into the environmental space” thing – A carbon tax IS a “conservative” idea. Cap and Trade is as well. Conservatives have made plenty a trip to environmental space before. They color our policy choices. They just don’t support doing anything that will touch fossil fuel profits.

    Ingliss’s loyalty to the GOP is touching.

  3. Greatgrandma Kat says:

    That was a good try, cut sub’s to all energy sources? A backhanded way to kill renewables since without sub’s we can not scale up fast enough to keep us below 4 degress. It is clear that the point is to make the delay in action not their fault.

  4. robert says:

    Well… cutting subsidies to fossils and a revenue-neutral carbon tax are hardly the ideas of the conservatives — having been proposed and championed by progressives for the past decade. That said, in addition to being progressive approaches, they are certainly consistent with conservative principles.

    Bob Inglis’ problem is, he’s trying to champion a philosophy that no longer has any representation in today’s Republican party. I don’t trust the fundamental intellectual process of people who, time and again, reject evidence-based information and strategies.

    I applaud Ingles’ effort to get R’s onboard. I have little optimism for its success…

  5. Paula Swedeen says:

    Progressives need to think carefully about embracing conservatives who support a carbon tax. Their insistence that government should not be able to use any revenue from a carbon tax is deeply problematic.

    First, we are not likely to be able to solve climate change without hefty spending of public monies on efficiency, clean energy deployment, continued R&D, and conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems that absorb CO2. Economic models of the effects of carbon taxes on emission reductions show that even robust tax schedules by themselves don’t reduce emissions as much as we need.

    Second, government has shrunk since the recession in ways that hurt low income and middle class people. Insisting on continuing to shrink government in the face of hunger, homelessness, high unemployment, inadequate spending on education, crumbling infrastructure, etc. is inhumane and unwise. By agreeing to revenue neutrality, some people who say they are progressive are playing into the hands of a dysfunctional political philosophy that maintains government spending is always bad (especially when done to help disadvantaged people).

    Returning revenue to low income households to eliminate regressive impacts is crucial. After that, carbon tax revenue should be spent to mitigate climate change, and in a way that puts people back to work. Government has an important role to play in making that happen.

  6. onyerlefty says:

    Pairing a revenue-neutral carbon tax with a tax reduction? There’s no need, if it’s truly revenue-neutral.
    Just a somewhat sneaky way to secure another tax cut for the rich, whose taxes are at historic lows already.

  7. Lou Grinzo says:

    The Republicans/right wingers are in one heck of a mess right now. They’re experiencing the political equivalent of having one foot on a dock and one foot on a row boat that’s slowly drifting out into a very deep, very cold lake. They can’t alienate the Tea Party contingent, or they’ll get slaughtered in elections. They can’t appease the TPers, because public perception is (finally!) starting to turn against them on a gigantic, terrifying problem, and the GOP doesn’t want to be blamed when things really start to hit the fan.

    So they’re trying to “split the difference” right now, and they’re looking deeply schizophrenic. We still have extremists, like Inhofe, and we have a few less obviously insane individuals claiming to recognize the issue and take some sort of (half-hearted, special interest supporting) action. I expect to see this schism remain for at least the next 30 to 50 years.

    I’ve long said that a plan the Republicans should wholeheartedly embrace is: [1] Eliminate all subsidies of all forms, including insurance for nuke plants, discount FF rights fees on federal lands, even the PTC for wind. Wipe out every last cent. [2] Put in place a realistic price on the carbon content of fuels, with a 100% per capita refund (the model Hansen is pushing). “Realistic price” means high enough to account for all the costs of FF extraction, processing, transportation, and burning, including future costs from things like, say, losing Miami to sea level rise, likely well over $250/ton CO2. Under such a system we’d see renewables take off and the entire economy flee from FF usage as quickly as possible.

  8. Mark Schmidt says:

    The problem is that the republicans are NOT conservatives…they are bought and paid for representatives for big corporations, delusional libertarians and “religious” extremists. They are hardly Americans at this point. REAL conservatives would HATE subsidies for Big Oil and Big AG…but those “conservatives” in congress now are OWNED by Business and the lunatic right.

  9. idic5 says:

    “Attach all costs to all fuels—in order to get a true cost comparison”

    Since he says that he like accountability, I assume he would look at all the real costs behind Oil production: costs such as the 3 trillion Iraq war II. THe Iraq War I wd also be included in these costs as present values. Th added costs to the health care system due to respirory illnesses and cancers should also be included in the cost of Fossil. THe cost of global warming due to GHg buildup should be included, too. 77 billion dollar MW draught last yr, Hurricane sandy extra swath and intensity costs – what was that, 60 – 70 billion, the (CO) wildfires, Katrina , on and on.

    I say, let’s calculate, report and CHARGE the real costs for fossil. And he is right , the market – if it were truly free and not adulterated and biased from the undue influence of Big Oil, would naturally not be opted by any sane person.

  10. BBHY says:

    i have seen statements like this before, always from former T-pub representatives, never from current office holders. Once they are out of office they all want to help.

    So, apparently the answer is to vote them all out of office.

  11. Brilliant! That is indeed where the logic leads…

  12. Jamie Ross says:

    Well said. They call themselves “conservative” but what they really are is authoritarians. It matters not how logical or principled Inglis’s case is. It won’t make a dent if GOP leaders are in bed w/fossil fuels. Which they are.

  13. They call themselves conservatives but what they really are is authoritarians.

    Yep, you hit it on the head.

  14. SecularAnimist says:

    So, Inglis wants to “Eliminate all subsidies for all fuels, from fossil fuels to renewables”.

    Spoken like a true bought-and-paid-for shill for the fossil fuel industry, which continues to enjoy the fruits of over a CENTURY of massive subsidies.

    If you are truly devoted to a “free market” and a “level playing field”, Mr. Inglis, then let’s end all subsidies for fossil fuels immediately, and heavily subsidize renewable energy technologies for a hundred years, or however long it takes for them to catch up with the trillions of dollars in public subsidies that have already been lavished on coal, oil and gas.

    And of course, it’s obvious to anyone who cares more about preserving the capacity of the Earth to support human life than about rigid adherence to “free market” dogama, that we need to be subsidizing and mandating the hell out of wind and solar technologies — principally the fastest possible deployment of today’s technologies at all scales, but also the commercialization of the new technologies under development.

    We didn’t employ “market incentives” to build the planes and tanks required to win World War II, and we aren’t going to win the war for survival against global warming that way either.

    Of course, Inglis is neither a climate hawk nor a free-market “conservative”. He’s just another GOP stooge of the Koch Brothers, spouting a different line of BS than the Tea Party deniers, because he thinks that’s what will “get over”. He and his party will NEVER, EVER stand up against the fossil fuel corporations, for the simple reason that the GOP is wholly and entirely OWNED by the fossil fuel corporations.

  15. John Paily says:

    Any government or climate organization who fight for climate change and draws out policies should take this vital point into consideration- Earth strives to conserve its energy to matter ratio. It has a dual and multiple world design. This is evident from day and night cycle; When one part of earth is in a day cycle where ratio favors energy, the other part of earth is in favor of matter. The system resist a unilateral direction towards heating or cooling. If you stand back to observe, we note that we humans have unilaterally and exponentially increased the heat of the environment since industrial era. The loss of greenery and intrusion in to the night cycle has further aggravated the situation. It is common sense that heat evaporates water and when cycle changes water has to return. With exponential increases in heat the rate of evaporation has increased. It is common sense that then the rate of precipitation will increase in parallel. This is leading to fire/wind bound destruction, destruction through flash floods/snows. The winding reaction of earth to increased unwinding reaction of heat is bound to stress the tectonic plates increasing earth quakes and eventually volcanic eruptions that can turn earth inside out. Signs progression in this direction are there everywhere. We have many civilization beneath the sea. Volcanic dust is known to cool earth’s atmosphere suddenly and can induce an ice-age. We do not need, huge scientific data and heated debates on it. All we need is common sense. An awakening to our consciousness and intelligence – Unless we awaken to this reality and take steps to control the energy of the environment we are poised for huge destruction from Mother Earth. – Global Warming or a New Ice Age: Documentary Film

  16. Leland Palmer says:

    Let’s not forget the hidden subsidies for fossil fuel use built into our society.

    For example, the way we fund highway construction is a hidden subsidy for automobile manufacturing, and so a hidden subsidy for the oil corporations, who sell the gas to drive on the highways.

    Or consider zoning laws, which discourage people from living close to where they work, and encourage automobile manufacturing and gasoline production.

    And then there is the greenhouse gas heat multiplier effect- a roughly 100,000 to 1 ratio between greenhouse heating and useful heat of combustion for a fossil fuel.

    Charging the public for the real greenhouse heating produced by fossil fuels is impossible- a tank of gas would cost at least hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Sure, he’d like to end subsidies for alternative energy sources- after we’ve spent tens or hundreds of billions of dollars on nuclear, and after we’ve constructed our entire society to promote and subsidize fossil fuel use.

  17. Exactly so, Lou. If the entire proposition is implemented concurrently as Inglis and you describe, the true price of carbon will direct investment the right way.

    We should do this. But, we’re now in an emergency, and we’ll also have to take WW2-style measures to keep the planet we live on from being turned into a war zone for the rest of human history. Which may be quite brief, if we don’t succeed.

  18. I’ve been pushing the term “regressives” for years. It’s starting to pop up.

    Rather than take up real estate here, I’ll just refer to this blog entry if you’re interested in more.

  19. Of all the behaviors that so-called “conservatives” exhibit that is the exact opposite, none is more egregious and sickeningly hypocritical than the rejection of accountability. They pervert freedom into license. It’s exactly the same mentality that supported slavery. Plantation owners wanted to be “free” to own slaves. Does it get any more perverse than that? Today, they want to be “free” to impose what ever cost and risk they care to on the rest of society, and “free” not to cooperate on this terrible, urgent problem.

    These spoiled, entitled babies and their tantrums give true conservatives a bad name. The MSM should be pressed to call them something else. They’re not conservatives.

  20. Calamity Jean says:

    Renewables currently get small subsidies, fossil fuels get big ones. If all subsidies are eliminated, renewables go up in price a little, fossil fuels go up in price a lot, and the assumption is that everyone rushes to renewables which would then cost less than fossil fuels.

    Without tax-and-dividend, it would hurt lower-income people badly in the short run. In the long run we’d all be better off, including the poor.

  21. dick smith says:

    Let’s give Inglis some credit here. His proposal is–like Al Gore’s–tax what burn not what we earn. The tax he would cut first is the payroll tax.

    I personally believe that revenue neutrality should be broader–equal per capita checks to all Americans–as Citizen’s Climate Lobby proposes. But, Inglis deserves credit for working hard to find conservative support in Congress to get a federal price on carbon.

    We need conservative leadership on this issue and, in my opinion, no one is better positioned and working harder to achieve that than Bob Inglis.

  22. dick smith says:

    Yes, Inglis has talked eloquently about the hidden costs of carbon including the loss of American lives and treasure to protect oil supplies from foreign wellheads to our borders.

    Before you bash Bob Inglis, why don’t you actually read what he’s written and said about the health and military costs of what comes out of our smokestacks and tailpipes.

    These are some of the most misguided and uninformed comments I’ve read at CP.

  23. dick smith says:

    Your logic is absurd. Bill McKibben and 350 have has called for an end to all subsidies. Citizens Climate Lobby has called for an end to all subsidies. Are they stooges for the Koch brothers? Ridiculous.

    I’m a knee-jerk liberal Democrat, but I recognize that Bob Inglis is staunch a free market conservative and an amazingly committed climate hawk. You are remarkably uninformed about Inglis for someone who seems to have such strong opinions about him.

  24. Merrelyn Emery says:

    30 to 50 years? I doubt that small groups of scavenging nomads will vote at all, ME

  25. BillD says:

    Inglis has excellent ideas but it’s really unlikely that he or any other Republican can be elected on such a platform. Still, getting the word out leads to change. For example, ideas about gay marriage have changed much faster than just about anyone expected.

  26. Leland Palmer says:

    George Mason University, which employs Bob Inglis, is a huge recipient of Koch money. It’s one of their main projects.

    Look them up at Conservative Transparency, and you will see a long list of donations from the Kochs, as well as money from Richard Mellon Scaife, ExxonMobil, and the American Petroleum Institute.

    These are the main funders of climate change denial.

    These are among the most deceptive people on the planet, funding a huge network of information laundering think tanks.

    So, what Inglis says is just more B.S. coming from that same deceptive source, IMO. It’s just another tactic to slow the transition away from fossil fuel use.

    Germany is an example of just how effective feed in tariffs and subsidies can be, in speeding the transition to clean energy.

    We need to make the transition to alternative energy sources ASAP.

    Sure, he’d like a level playing field…after a century of entrenched fossil fuel development- which gives fossil fuels a market advantage.

    It doesn’t matter what he says or how he portrays himself…what matters is the bottom line.

    His program would delay the transition away from fossil fuels.

    After the way conservatives and the oil industry funded denial movement have behaved, isn’t a little suspicion warranted?

  27. Leland Palmer says:

    Yes, he’s a shining knight in armor…working for George Mason University, one of the main recipients of Koch brothers money.

  28. Leland Palmer says:

    Looks like maybe I spoke too soon.

    Or maybe not:

    From Globalwarming dot org:

    Today, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a prominent conservative think tank, hosted a secret, four-and-a-half hour meeting of pols, wonks, and activists, including several self-identified ’progressives,’ to develop a PR/legislative strategy to promote and enact a carbon tax. This was the fifth such meeting to advance the ”Price Carbon Campaign/Lame Duck Initiative: A Carbon Pollution Tax in Fiscal and Tax Reform.” An annoted copy of the meeting agenda appears at the bottom of this post.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, earlier this week former GOP Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, an organization promoting carbon taxes. Inglis obtained funding for the project from the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Energy Foundation, both left-leaning foundations.

    The Energy and Enterprise Initiative is “hosted” (whatever that means) at George Mason University, but funded by the Rockefeller family fund and the Energy Foundation.

    What’s the American Enterprise Institute doing promoting a carbon tax? A few years ago, they were one of the main bastions of paid climate change denial.

    Of course, on a practical level, any legislation containing the word “tax” is a political poison pill, of course.

    After the way conservatives have behaved, I’m appropriately suspicious.

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Cut subsidies for fossil fuels because they are omnicidal, and transfer them to renewables, because they will not destroy humanity. It couldn’t be plainer, if our priority is saving mankind.

  30. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    No far enough Dick. No cheques for the rich, small ones for the middle and big ones for the poor. Egalitarianism and social justice are not just ethical absolutes, opposed only by Rightwing misanthropes, but essential for producing a balanced steady-state economy, not based on endless neoplastic growth amongst rising poverty, misery, inequality and elite cupidity.

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Lou, the next 30 to 50 years will see us finished if we don’t change course. I suspect another course is possible, one we saw, yet again, in action in Egypt this week. The USA’s ruling elite has fomented so many coups, and supported so many militaristic elites in so many countries that they are nearly certain to try it on at home, at some stage, if the rabble finally wake up to their peril, and elite control is threatened.

  32. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Totalitarians I would say. Ignorant, stupid totalitarians, a truly dangerous type.

  33. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When fossil fuel prices skyrocket, so will food prices, because modern agribusiness runs of oil and gas.

  34. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What about the Iraqi lives, over two million since 1991, obliterated in order to protect US exceptionalism in regard to wasting fossil, fuels on SUVs etc?

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Free market conservative’ is a euphemism for servant of the rich, or a member of the rich himself. There are no ‘Free markets’. What Rightwing apologists for neo-liberal capitalism mean by a ‘free market’ is one where the rich rule, absolutely, because the weight of their money power when brought to bear in ‘The Market’ distorts all the results to their benefit, and to the utter detriment of those with little or no ‘market power’ ie the vast majority of people everywhere. And the natural world has no ‘market power’ whatsoever. The maniacal cult of ‘Free Markets’ is but a smokescreen for naked plutocracy, and it is primarily responsible for all the accelerating ecological and economic disasters that have come to a deadly head over the last forty years.

  36. Leland Palmer says:

    Actually, correction:

    The Energy and Enterprise Initiative is “hosted” (whatever that means) at George Mason University, but funded by the Rockefeller family fund and the Energy Foundation.

  37. Leland Palmer says:

    Of course, one historical source of Rockefeller family money is John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly, and its descendants including ExxonMobil. The Rockefellers always win the proxy fights for control of the corporation, and arguably still control it.

    Another source of Rockefeller family money is banking- supported by fossil fuel profits. Their Chase Manhattan bank has now merged with J. P. Morgan financial interests to form JPMorganChase. Do the Rockefellers still control JPMorganChase? Good question.

    The Rockefeller family has done wonderful charitable work, of course. The Rockefeller foundations imply they are independent of Rockefeller family influence. Except that the Council on Foreign Relations, funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, seems to think that a melting polar icecap is a wonderful thing. And, in my opinion, the Rockefeller Family foundation sometimes seems to fund charitable projects that, in my opinion, ultimately benefit the oil industry- funding Bob Inglis being a good example of that, in my opinion.

    Anyway, without oil money, there would be no such charity, I think.

  38. Leland Palmer says:

    Yes, the three trillion dollars of public money spent invading the Middle East is perhaps the ultimate example of the corporate strategy of externalizing costs whenever possible.

    So, yes, these are Iraqi lives and our tax money spent in hidden subsidies for fossil fuel use.

    Are those costs going to be tacked onto the price of gasoline, in Bob Inglis’s scheme?

    Wanna bet?

  39. Dr. Herbert D. Zeman says:

    Actually, a revenue neutral carbon tax that pays the same rebate to every citizen or legal resident is very progressive. The poor don’t have cars or air conditioners and don’t use much energy. They get subsidized. The rich use the most energy. They will pay more tax. It’s very important that the tax be large enough to have a big effect. I figure it should double the cost of gasoline, for example.

  40. Martin Lack says:

    Given that… “The Earth may be developing but it is not growing!” and “There is something wrong with treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation” (Herman Daly)… I think all those who are ideological prisoners of the ‘business as usual’ paradigm should best be described as ‘unconservatives’.

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I cannot agree. The rich use more energy, because they can afford to do so, as a result of decades of regressive economic and social policy inflicted by the rich through their political employees and MSM propaganda apparatus. As a result of these policies, inequality has burgeoned, the poor and middle have seen their standards of living greatly diminished, and the rich have indulged themselves at everybody else’s expense. It is pay-back time. Soaking the rich is not just morally justifiable, but also, as Willy Sutton said, ‘That’s where the money is’. Reducing inequality, by transferring money from the few to the many, instead of the opposite practise of the last few decades, is an absolutely essential task in the move from an unjust, unsustainable society, to a just and enduring one. So, I’d advocate for no rebate over a certain income level, where they can well afford it, and over-compensation down the income scale, as a deliberate policy of restitution for decades of elite rapacity.

  42. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    In Nature, development ceases at maturity. But we were never a mature species, were we? We go with the only process that tries to grow forever, and outwardly only, in size and extent. Our inward growth has been pretty derisory for quite a while.

  43. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Looks like the US Right has decided to mobilize to ensure that a carbon tax is regressive, and benefits the rich at the expense of the rest ie their perennial project for the establishment of neo-feudal rule. Properly designed, a carbon tax, plus tax cuts for the rich to sweeten the deal, could be viciously socially regressive. If you’re asking me to envisage these shysters working on a socially just dispensation, then you’re dreaming.

  44. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Not in a fit. I think that you are right on the money, and, as ever, the high road to the truth is to follow the money.

  45. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It probably derives from hostis, the Latin for an enemy, as in hostile. Through a ‘host’ ie an army, or a horde, of locusts perhaps, or leeches or vampire bats or Rightwingers-but I repeat myself.

  46. jorma says:

    Mulga Mumblebrain says:
    >The rich use more energy, because they can afford to do so

    And when you redistribute their money to the poor, the poor… can afford to use more energy. They might even use more energy than the rich were using.

  47. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Possibly jorma, but they might use it to install solar PV, or go for green electricity suppliers. It’s not a good argument against greater equality and social justice, which are well-nigh absolute goods as far as I can see. The poor and middle are pretty certain not to be investing their small windfalls in second or third houses either.

  48. Leland Palmer says:

    Alternative energies may end up being permanently more expensive than fossil fuels. Many of us don’t think so, but it could happen- especially since the immense size and influence of the fossil fuel corporations allows them to externalized costs to the general public and to future generations.

    Fossil fuels are stored, concentrated solar energy, stored as chemical potential energy. It may always be more trouble and more expensive to collect diffuse solar energy than to go dig up concentrated fossil solar energy- depending on the accounting, and whether a mechanism exists to charge current corporations for future damage.

    A lot of the cost difference depends on the accounting. The side effects and costs of fossil fuel usage are immense, but much of the effect penalizes future generations- CO2, and methane that oxidizes into CO2, are the gifts that keep on giving- for thousands of years.

    Charging fossil fuel corporations the “true cost” of fossil fuel use is impossible, because most of the cost is in the future, and none of us can predict the future.

    Eventually, if you add up all of the greenhouse heat side effect from fossil fuel use, you get heating side effects that are on the order of 100,000 times greater than the useful heat of combustion.

    If we set off the methane hydrates, this could make the greenhouse heating side effects of fossil fuel use millions of times the useful heat of combustion.

    These greenhouse side effects, especially if the methane hydrates destabilize quickly, could kill the biosphere. Fossil fuel use could end up being infinitely expensive.

    I hope that Americans at this point want the form of energy without the huge greenhouse heating side effect, of uncertain size and duration, extending on many generations in the future, capable of igniting latent positive feedback loops in the earth system which could kill the biosphere.

    We don’t want the cheapest sources of energy, under our current rules that shift the cost burden onto future generations, and that charge CO2 polluters a nominal fee or nothing for their greenhouse pollutants, Mr. Inglis. No realistic carbon tax could realistically charge the immensely powerful fossil fuel corporations the true cost of their greenhouse pollution to current and especially future generations.

    We want the sources of energy that won’t kill the planet.

    In order to get those safe sources of energy, we may need to use useful tools like feed in tariffs and subsidies.

  49. Paul Vincelli says:

    Bob Inglis is definitely a leading thinker on conservative solutions to climate change. Two others worth hearing are at

  50. Leland Palmer says:


    The Energy and Enterprise Initiative is just another information laundering think tank in the Rockefeller/Koch/Scaife climate change denial propaganda system, I think.

    For information on this propganda system (it’s a little dated, but still relevant), google the Union of Concerned Scientists Report “Smoke, Mirrors, and Hot Air- How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics
    to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science”. This report is about ExxonMobil, but the Koch network is similar, and seems to be modeled on the older ExxonMobil effort.

    Since the Energy and Enterprise Initiative is “hosted” at George Mason University – one of the Koch Brothers’ main projects- and funded by the Rockefeller Family Fund (associated with ExxonMobil), it has a truly blue ribbon climat change denial propaganda system pedegree, I think.

    Bob Inglis may or may not write his own stuff. This propaganda system often uses figureheads and ghost writers.

    Whether he writes his own stuff or not, it’s all very carefully calculated B.S., in my opinion.

  51. Brian Dodge says:

    “Young people are more inclined to accept science—and they want solutions.” And the old white male conservative tea party Republicans aren’t the least bit inclined to accept science – or any understanding of reality, ’cause you think that you can “make your own reality.”
    “the Republican Party is ‘perceived as being against climate change,'” It’s not climate change you’re against, it’s science; and it’s not perception, it’s reality.
    “climate change matter was started by liberals” Nope – James Hansen was a moderate Republican scientist(in 1988) – when the Republicans abandoned science they abandoned him, and any semblance of rational thought.
    “If you set the economics right, the consumer will drive innovation” Riiight – deregulation and the free market worked so well with the innovations of Collateralized Debt Obligations and Credit Default Swaps on Wall Street.
    “My party has been engaged in a detour of populist rejectionism.” Your party has been engaged in putting up roadblocks, not detours, to stop all progress because “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” And since that failed, y’all have doubled down on denial.
    “As the economy improves, I think my party is going to have to offer up real solutions to succeed. You can’t just sow discontent.” But, but, but, it’s worked so well for you so far.