Some might think of Bob Inglis as a reformed man. A six-term Republican congressman from one of South Carolina’s most conservative districts, Inglis told the world in 2010 that he believed in human-caused climate change. While this epiphany helped to seal his defeat to a Tea Party-backed candidate, Inglis went on to run the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University. Its lofty mission is to convince American conservatives – elected leaders, college Republicans, and the general public – that climate change is one of the most important issues of our time and that conservative free market principles are precisely the climate solutions we need to ensure more energy, mobility, freedom, and a healthier planet.
“We’re trying to convince conservatives that they are more important to this than they ever imagined,” Inglis said, “because they have the answer, which is free enterprise.” He favors removing all fuel subsidies and imposing a carbon tax.
Inglis’ efforts have not gone unnoticed. Jack Schlossberg, the grandson of President John F. Kennedy presented him with the Profile in Courage Award last week. Public engagement is critical, especially knowing that there will always be reasons for inaction. As they point out in their op-ed: “Climate change is a chance for all of us to add a chapter to the story of American triumph and human progress.” Congratulations to Bob Inglis for his courageous leadership on the Path to Positive.
We belong to different generations and political parties. We live in different states and under different circumstances. One of us is a college student, born into a political family, while the other is a former congressman from South Carolina and father of five children.
One of us served on the selection committee for the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. The other will receive this award in recognition of the stand he took when he broke with his party and sacrificed his political career to support responsible action to combat climate change.
We share an unwavering belief that the United States must lead the world on climate change and seize opportunities for unity, growth and progress. We believe that President Kennedy’s courageous leadership in space exploration holds lessons that can help guide us forward.