- 27 November 2013
“There’s a free enterprise solution” to climate change
Bob Inglis is the Executive Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI) based at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. E&EI is guided by the conservative principles of free enterprise and economic growth, limited government, liberty, accountability and reasonable risk avoidance to solve our nation’s energy and climate challenges. Before starting E&EI, Inglis represented South Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District for 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He spoke at Climate Week 2013 on the need for conservative solutions to addressing climate change.
“Imagine that you are a conservative speaking to a conservative audience about climate change.
"Now for some of you that’s going to take a real acting job - to play the part of that conservative. For others of us, it comes more naturally. We know the audience. We know they believe in the power of free enterprise. We know that they used to believe that America can accomplish great things when we act together. We know they’ll return to that faith, once the pain of the Great Recession is over.
"So you start your talk. [There’s] a conservative audience there. The loudmouths sound off immediately. “Whooey!” “Nonsense!” “Junk Science!”
"You know that they’re doubting the problem, because they don’t like the proposed solution. - the assumed solution of a bigger government.
"So you try to tell them, ‘We’ll actually, there’s a free enterprise solution. One that involves just a true cost, all cost in comparison, between the competing fuels.’
"You tell them about a revenue-neutral, border-adjustable, EPA-shrinking, carbon tax.
"The loud-moths go into anaphylactic shock when you mention carbon tax. While they’re gasping for air, you continue: ‘Un-tax income. Tax carbon pollution instead. Lighten EPA regulations. Make it global by making it border-adjustable. Rebate it on exports. Impose it on imports. Watch India and China follow-suit imposing similar prices on carbon in their own economies.’
"You call for questions at the end of your presentation. Nobody raises their hand. The loudmouths have succeeded in cultural norming. No one wants to break out of the comfort and security, the protection of the tribal orthodoxy.
"You’re beginning to get discouraged. But you look around at the faces: of the young conservative who wants her party to be relevant to her future, to the hunter and the angler who know things have changed, to the libertarian who passionately believes in accountable free markets, and to the entrepreneur who’s seeing dollar signs.
"You see those faces and you know you’re on the right track. Now to the progressives, watching this scene from the balcony, let me introduce to you in the audience there the indispensible partners for action. They are your indispensible partners. It won’t happen without them.
"Embrace their free-enterprise solution. Tell them they’re right. Talk to them about reasonable risk avoidance. Don’t talk to them about apocalyptic visions of New York City going ‘blub, blub, blub.’
"Remind them that their insurance company friends are already pricing risk, and are listening very carefully to the actuaries, who in turn listen very carefully to the scientists.
"And then stop the tribal warfare, and let’s get this thing done. Thank you.”
Watch the speech recorded live at Climate Week NYC: