Solar panels and wind turbines

Republican Bob Inglis, a former congressman from South Carolina, has long tried to get his fellow conservatives to act on climate change.

And he says that after a decade dominated by Republican climate denial, a growing number of conservatives are now willing to acknowledge the problem and start discussing solutions.

“What a lot of Republicans now are talking about is incentives toward clean energy and that, we hope, is a very positive first step,” he says. “Of course, it’s not enough, but it’s a step.”

But Inglis worries that a financial downturn fueled by the coronavirus could derail some of that momentum, especially if people feel they need to choose between economic growth and climate action.

But Inglis says that’s a false choice.

He runs a nonprofit called republicEN. Its members advocate for imposing a tax on carbon pollution. He says the approach would slow global warming while spurring innovation and growth in clean, renewable energy.

“We want more energy, more mobility, more freedom. We just want it better, faster, cheaper, cleaner and the free enterprise system can do that,” Inglis says. “And that is a message that conservatives can embrace and say, ‘Yeah, that’s us. That’s our story.’”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.