Bob Inglis: Climate change is “an incredible opportunity to repower our lives”

Ilario D'Amato
28 October 2015

Bob Inglis, Executive Director of

NEW YORK: There is a strong conservative case for climate action, says former US Congressman Bob Inglis in The Climate Group’s latest exclusive Climate TV interview.

The ex-Republican Congressman from South Carolina was among the first in the US to champion a carbon tax, accounting for the real social and economic costs of fossil fuels. For his political vision on the issue, this year he was awarded the Profile in Courage from the John F. Kennedy Library.

“At RepublicEn we think this is all about business and finance, it’s all about fixing the economics,” Bob Inglis underlines in the video interview, making the case for a carbon tax. “If we just put all the costs on all the fuels – and eliminate all the subsidies, making a level playing field so that all fuels are fully accountable – then the free enterprise system will deliver innovation very rapidly to willing customers, rather than customers compelled by some regulation mandate or incentivized by some tax incentives.”


Sustainable business is “a very exciting marketplace,” says Bob Inglis, where companies “will be driven to innovation by a price signal that would make it in their interest to innovate.” The former Congressman is a strong supporter of the free enterprise system, which in his view “is going to deliver innovation faster than the government mandates or regulations can ever imagine.”

“It will really be very exciting, because what we can do is light up the dark places of the world with distributed energy systems and create wealth, create jobs, create much better lives. Climate change is clearly a danger, but also an incredible opportunity to repower our lives.”


This year at Climate Week NYC, leading businesses voiced their strong support for a fair climate deal in Paris this December, a text that should accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. “The smart money is moving,” remarks Bob Inglis. “The smart money is deciding that you need to show a lessening carbon footprint in order to attract capital, or that there is an internal price on carbon dioxide: those kind of signals from the business community are really powerful.”

However, companies need support from clear and bold policies in order to achieve their ambitious clean objectives. “Clearly there is a role for government here,” says Inglis, that is to charge companies that pollute for the waste they are generating. “That’s a message that really works with conservatives in America,” he says. “We conservatives believe in accountability, we believe that all kinds of blessings flow where people are held accountable.”


Bob Inglis calls business leaders to “speak out and step up, and make it clear what you are doing. It helps signal the conservatives in America that people that they can emulate, they trust, who are the champions of free enterprise, are moving. And that’s a very important validation that a political message would also work. Let’s see the free enterprise system delivers the fuels of the future.”

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